The Public Account Committee of the National Legislature has been delving into a number of audit reports submitted to that august body by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) implicating some government ministries and agencies including the National Port Authority (NPA) for alleged acts of corruption. The audit reports covered fiscal years 2006/2007, 2007/08- a period before the appointment of Madam Matilda W. Parker as Managing Director in May, 2009.
The audit reports among other things alleged that there were “significant problems with uncollected rental fees, failure to comply with the lease policy and illegal occupancy” which the PAC said has resulted in arrears and loss of revenue. The PAC of the Liberian legislature as part of its findings also indicated the absence of administrative and internal control system during the fiscal period of the audit reports.
Consequently, the joint PAC of the Legislature recommends that actions be taken by the current management team of the NPA as regards the reclaiming of areas that are illegally occupied and that rental arrears be collected and deposited in the escrow account created by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
The Committee further recommends that the following the “former managing directors who signed various lease agreements according to the GAC audit report be reprimanded: TogbaNganana, Alphonso B. Gaye, Joe K. Touah, Joe T. Gballah, Elsie D. Badio and Yvette A. Freeman. In effect, the joint PAC vindicated the current management team of the NPA of any wrong doing but advised that the Matilda Parker led administration takes the necessary steps to correct the wrongs.
In spite of the veracity in the committee’s findings of no wrong by the present NPA management and that the audits were not conducted during the tenure of the Madam Matilda Parker, evidence by the Saturday, November 15, 2014 statement of clarity from the PAC which undoubtedly explained that its findings does not “ reflect charges of corruption against the National Port Authority of the Republic of Liberia,there have been madcap media reports insinuating that the innovative NPA Managing Director is caught in corruption web.
According to a statement issued in Monrovia under the signature of House Spokesman Isaac Redd, the clarification of the PAC comes in the wake of media reports by some online and conventional media outlets that the committee’s report found the NPA liable of malfeasance and corruption.
The Joint PAC Secretary Review and subsequent findings at the NPA covered the period of 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. The PAC in the November 15, statement of clarity said it recommended to the President that further actions must be taken to address the collection of arrears and issues of illegal occupancy of NPA properties that were caused by past management.
The PAC statement further states that although the current management of the NPA was not in place during the period of the audit, they are responsible for the implementation of the recommendations and will be held liable for any remaining corrective measures.
Admit the clarity by the PAC, recent widespread myth that the NPA is being placed at the fulcrum of negative perception that the current management team of the port authority is either caught into a web corruption or it is doing nothing to deal with the messy situation incurred from its predecessor is utterly farfetched and lacks basses.
Painstakingly, it has been reliably gathered that the Matilda Parker’s administration has already instituted corrective measures to salvage the missteps of her predecessor. Reliable information from the NPA say the current Administration has already secured the needed resolutions and legal documents regarding the Company’s property lease policies in order to halt revenue loses.
Investigation conducted on this paper also established that the Management of the NPA under Madam Parker sees the audit reports as supportive documents that are necessary to buttress the good initiatives and transformation currently taking place at the National Port Authority.
On whether there are currently governing policy in place to guide the negotiation of lease agreement, our investigation unearthed that there is a 2006 policy document currently in place that Port Authority is using now as a baseline in negotiating with clients. According to our investigation, this document is modified on an ongoing basis based on resolution by the Board of Directors”.
Our investigation further discovered that the current administration of the NPA has taken regimented steps to improve the leasing process as follows: All leases are signed by the Chairman of the NPA Board, the Managing Director, the Comptroller, an in-house Lawyer, an NPA Witness and the new tenant; all leases have a development plan depicting timeline for developing the property.
All timelines are monitored, and leases are subject to cancellation if not adhered to; The disallowance of sub-leasing by all; All rental payments are adjustable every five years based on changes in the market value of the property, published by NPA Board resolution; and all survey are done via global positioning system (GPS) to ensure accuracy.