The Liberia Anti – Corruption Commission (LACC) says it takes note of reports in the press regarding four – year old (2015-2017) General Auditing Commission (GAC) Audits of the LACC which cover a period ending 2017 fiscal year. In a release issued by the LACC Tuesday, 1 June in Monrovia, the anti – graft body said it has seen the audit reports referenced in the news story which was conducted four years ago “and the LACC is thoroughly reviewing those reports to ensure there is full accountability on issues raised in the report relating to past officials of the Commission.”
LACC’s statement came Tuesday following this paper’s publication relating to the General Auditing Commission’s damning report dated 31 December 2020 which states that LACC’s financial statements do not give a true and fair in all material respects.
But LACC noted Tuesday that given the transition of leadership at the entity especially in regards to the period covered in the report, it is therefore calling for the cooperation of all past leaders of the Commission to assist with the investigation of the report.
“Finally, the LACC says it has seen strong determination on the part of the leadership of the Legislature to see through the passage of several draft anti corruption instruments submitted to that body,” the release said.
The LACC added that it is particularly touched by the leadership demonstrated by Cllr. J. KanieWesso, Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary for his sincere efforts to see the legislation passed.
The LACC emphasized that the passage of these crucial legislations will be critical to repositioning the anticorruption architecture of the country. It said the proposed legislations among other things give the LACC direct prosecutorial powers and allow for a uniform assets declaration process.
In its report, the GAC stated that LACC’s financial statements do not give a true and fair financial position on Statement of Comparison of Budget and Actual amount for the year then ended in accordance with the requirements of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Cash Basis of Accounting and comply with the Public Finance Management Act of 2009.
“In our opinion, because of the significance of the matters discussed in the Basis for Adverse Opinion section of our report, the financial statements do not give a true and fair in all material respects, of the financial position of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) as at 30 June, 2017 and of its statement of receipts and payments,” GAC said.
GAC’s report under the signature of Liberia’s Auditor General Madam Yusador S. Gaye continued that payments in the amount of US$5,810.00 for goods and services recorded in the ledger were not adequately supported by the necessary documents such as delivery notes or job completion certificate, Local Purchase Order, cash invoices and payment vouchers.
GAC revealed that the amount of expenditure per the general ledger for the Government of Liberia fund did not tally to the expenditure reported in the Financial Statements of LACC for the fiscal period.
“Several of the expenditures were recorded in the general ledger as US$352,388.17 and reported in the Financial Statements as US$419,588.86 thus, leaving a variance of (US$67,200.69),” the report indicated.
It said payments transactions amounting to US$6,500.00 were not recorded in the ledger during the period, and that there was a difference of US$9,175.22 between the closing cash balance reported in the Financial Statements and the closing cash balance of the General Ledger/ trial balance for the fiscal period.
GAC explained that it conducted its audit in accordance with the International Standard of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs), adding that its responsibilities under those standards are further described in the Auditor’s Responsibilities for the Audit of the Financial Statements section of GAC’s report.
The General Auditing Commission stated that it is independent of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission in accordance with the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants’ Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (IESBA Code) together with the ethical requirements that are relevant to their audit of the financial statements.
According to the report, GAC has fulfilled its other ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements and the IESBA Code, adding that it believes that the audit evidence it has obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for the adverse opinion.
According to GAC, management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in accordance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), financial reporting under the Cash Basis of Accounting, and for such internal control as management determines necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
In preparing the financial statements, GAC noted that management is responsible for assessing the commission’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to the going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless management either intends to liquidate the commission or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.
Additionally, it said the objectives of the audit are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes its opinion.
According to GAC, reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but it is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with the International Standard of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs) will always detect a material misstatement when it exists.
It added that misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these financial statements.
GAC indicated that it is required by Section 2.1.3 of its Act of 2014 and in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act and Regulations of 2009 to audit the accompanying Commission’s Financial Statements, which comprises the Statement of receipts and payments, Statement of Comparison of Budget and Actual and a summary of significant accounting policies and explanatory notes for the period ended June 30, 2017.
In another development, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission calls on all public officials and those required by law to take cognizance of their obligations to declare assets as required by law.
In the issued statement, the LACC reminded all current public officials and those required by law to commence the process of declaring their assets in line with law and statutory regulations which mandate declarations and re-declarations every 3 years on the last Friday of July.
The statement reminds all concerned public servants in different branches of government to commence the declarations of assets in different manners.
It reminded those in the Executive Branch to declare at the LACC; those in the Judiciary Branch should declare to the Clerk of the Supreme Court while members of the Legislature should declare respectively to both the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives.