…For Major Financial Improprieties

The General Auditing Commission (GAC) has uncovered major financial irregularities in the operations of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation. The report covers the fiscal years July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021.

The audit report was submitted to the National Legislature on December 30, 2021. The report noted material non- compliance with stated laws and regulations, policies and procedures including financial statement irregularities, non-performance of bank reconciliation, bills generated not collected, unconfirmed significant receivable balances, disparity in daily cash receipts and bank deposits, fixed assets irregularities, among others.

GAC observed that the LWSC Management did not take responsibility of its financial statements by signing or approving the statements in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act of 2009 as restated in 2019. Further, the account balances reported in the entity’s trial balance did not tie to account balances reported in the unsigned financial statements.

The GAC report noted that LWSC maintains 22 (twenty -two) bank accounts but performed bank reconciliations for six months  thereby leaving most of its accounts unreconciled.

According to the report, the GAC sought confirmation from several of LWSC major business customers about the accounts receivables balances reported by management but the business customers did not confirm the balances amounting to US$ 872,917.44.

Daily cash receipts from the sale of water and sewage services reported per the LWSC daily cash collection records prepared by the entity’s cashiers  at its central office did not reconcile to figures reported per bank deposits. In most cases, the GAC report noted that the amounts deposited in LWSC’s bank accounts were less than the amount collected per the cashier’s records.

Daily cash receipts from the sale of water and sewage services generated at the LWSC local offices in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County and Kakata, Magibi County were not supported by deposit slips and payment receipts, the report said.  According to the report, there were no records indicating that the amounts of US17,503.56 and L$915,710 reported collected by the Kakata substation was deposited in a local bank account.

The GAC observed during the audit that of the twenty-four vehicles disposed by the Management of LWSC, seven (7) vehicles were disposed without evidence of prior approval from the General Services Agency. Management claims in its response to the GAC that the 7 vehicles were disposed of by the Deputy Managing Director for Administration and the proceeds were not reported to Management.

Further, the report said a total of 125 (One hundred, twenty-five) fixed assets including vehicles, motorbikes, desktop computers, laptops, generators and televisions could not be verified during physical inspection of the assets.

The report further stated that the LWSC Management made payments for several items within the national competitive bidding threshold without evidence of bid documents, evaluation reports, contracts and delivery notes for goods and services provided in violation of the public procurement laws of Liberia.

The GAC reported further stated that employees’ social security contributions in the amount of US$372,015.49 are unpaid to Nation Social Security and Welfare Corporation. NASSCORP. According to the GAC, the employees risk the chance of not receiving their retirement benefits upon retirement if their benefits remain unpaid.

The report said major policy documents such as Fixed Asset Management Policy, Administrative and Financial Manuals’  Human Resource Policy Manual Receivables Management Policy developed to govern the financial and technical operations of LWSC have not been  approved  by the Board of Directors.

The report concluded that because of the significance of the matter discussed in the report, the revenue generation, expenditure and internal controls system of LWSC are not in compliance with applicable laws, regulations of Liberia and policies of LWSC.

President George Manneh Weah requested the General Auditing Commission to conduct an audit of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) on June 10, 2021.

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