GAC releases audit report on Bong social development funds
By Joseph Titus Yekeryan, in Bong County
The General Auditing Commission (GAC) has released a report of an audit done on the Bong County Social Development Funds covering the period 2018 to 2021.
The GAC revealed in the report that Bong County Administration headed by superintendent Esther Walker and controversial PMC Chairman Stephen Mulbah paid four contractors amounting to US$59,000 for projects without evidence of work done.
The report also established that the administration of Bong expended the amount of US$396,820 on projects without evidence of Bid Evaluation Reports, National Competitive Bidding, Contracts, Article of Incorporation, Business Registration and Tax Clearance.
The GAC said the administration of the county disbursed the total amount of US$366,000 and L$1,920,000 to twelve (12) institutions as county support without evidence of supporting documents.
Of the total allotment approved by the Bong County Council Sitting for liabilities to contractors amounting to US$760,380 for projects, only US$468,900 was paid, thus resulting in outstanding liabilities of US$291,479.
The GAC said there was a variance of US$222,664 between the total amounts disbursed to Bong County Administration as per the Fiscal Outturn Report 2018/2019 and the total amount received as per the Expenditure Report.
Further, it said there was no evidence of supporting documents to prove how the payments were done.
Meanwhile, the findings released by the GAC are very similar to the ones earlier reported by the three civil society organizations that recently did a research on how leaders of Bong County expended development funds between 2018 and 2021.
With support from ForumCiv, Media and Civic Education Rural Liberia, Delta-Human Rights Foundation and FIND launched the report in Gbarnga on 2 February this year.
Like the three civil society organizations recommended in their report, the GAC is also recommending penalties for county officials and contractors indicted in the report for the mismanagement of the county’s development funds.
The Plenary of the House of Representatives in August 2021, ordered the GAC to conduct an audit of Bong County Development Funds from 2018 to 2021 and make available findings to serve as a basis for the investigation of corruption allegations among county officials.