Awoko newspaper reports on Tuesday 15th January, 2019 that Action Plus and FOCUS 1000 were two local non-governmental organisations amongst five local NGOs audited by the Audit Service Sierra Leone that “have complied with the objectives for which they were set up” referencing the 2017 Auditor General's Report titled “Auditor General’s 2017 Report on the Public Accounts of Sierra Leone”. The Report was tabled in Parliament on the 10th January, 2019.
A press released from the Auditor General’s Office revealed that “Section 119(2) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone mandates the Auditor-General to audit the Public Accounts of Sierra Leone and all public offices including; the courts, the accounts of the central and local government administrations, the universities and public institutions of like nature, any statutory corporation, company or other body or organisation established by an Act of Parliament or statutory instrument or otherwise set up partly or wholly out of Public Funds.”
It’s important to states here that this review was conducted on the basis of a request received from the Office of the President and the Auditor-General’s mandate to audit all institutions that are receiving monies from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, or receiving monies for and on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone. It covered the period 2015-2016 and focused on the operations and activities of FOCUS 1000 and other non-governmental organisations mentioned in the report in pages 99-104.
According to the Auditor General, Lara Taylor-Pearce, the review was undertaken in order to ascertain whether donor funds and other resources allocated to local NGOs were utilised for the intended purposes and in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.
Amongst the activities reviewed were to ascertain whether local NGOs/CSOs were operating within the objectives for which they were set up, their internal control systems instituted if they were robust enough to handle the financial and non-financial management requirements of organisations; if they have the ability to continue operations into the foreseeable future and whether the balances in the books of accounts were accurate and complete.
The Auditor General noted that the activities of FOCUS 1000 were geared towards improving maternal and child nutrition, teenage pregnancy, utilisation of health services by conducting series of research, community engagements and advocacies amongst others. “FOCUS 1000 complied with the accounting systems and controls set forth in its programme and financial management policies, processes and procedural manual as well as donor requirements and policies,” the Auditor General said. They also observed that the organisation was in compliance with the relevant sections of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) Act 2001, the government’s local content policy, the government’s Child Rights Act, the Anti-Corruption Commission Act, 2008 and the Income Tax Act, 2009 (as amended).
In addition to their internal control systems, “the records management system was adequate. The organisation had a system in place for the recording of business transactions and employee’s records were updated on files,” the audit revealed. “However, we noted that the organisation experienced a fluctuating trend in the financial flow of its operations.”
On the other hand, the report stated that interviews with some of the beneficiaries of Action Plus confirmed that they have benefited from the objectives for which the organisation exists and that the organisation was in compliance with MoFED NGO’s desk requirements for the period under review as documents such as its constitution, audited financial statements and valid income tax clearance amongst other documentation.
“Action Plus has demonstrated proper accountability and transparency to its donors and project beneficiaries, by providing periodic reports to them on the implementation and impact of the programme activities” the Auditor General said.
To read more about the report, click here