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NATCOM “CHOPS” PROCUREMENT LAWS

The National Telecommunication Communication Commission (NATCOM), the Country’s Regulatory body enacted by Parliament has been caught openly flouting laws relating to Sierra Leone’s National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA). The gross disregard for national regulations that NATCOM has been engaged in for considerable period of time has provoked a reaction from the Senior Internal Audit to come out with recommendations that are expected to be fully complied with by NATCOM.

Ddownloadisregarding procurement rules and regulations are corruption related offences which the Country’s Anti Corruption watchdog is expected to pounce on defaulters and bring them to book, but unfortunately the Country’s watchdog seemed to be very complacent with officials that are promoting corruption in government institutions and as a result of that, it has remained impotent in its function over the years apart from holding workshops and attending international conferences with the purpose of collecting per diem.

A document dated 10th November, 2014 circularized by the Internal Audit Department stated among other things, “It has come to the notice of the Internal Audit Department that various department/units in the Commission are engaged in buying items without going through the Procurement Unit. This was manifested during the 2012 External Audit Exercise which has just been completed. There were some records relating to purchase of items/assets which were not found in the books of the Procurement Units but transactions were carried out on them and paid for”

What may be seen as an element of complacency and a total neglect of the rules that the Internal Audit Department refused to subscribe to is the sense of corruption that the procurement of goods and services normally go with that has forced the department to highlight the anomalies and caution that “All general policies related to procurement at the Commission should be consistent with official policies mandated by NPPA-Sierra Leone and also in compliance with official policies mandated by the Procurement Act. This trend of neglect that has cushioned the illegal practice of procurement at NATCOM has reportedly caused the Commission to expend monies that it has found extremely difficult to retrieve.  A case in point currently under investigation is about payments made to Lion Travel Agency for tickets that the Commission is strenuously trying to recover when it discovered that the payments were being duplicated and officials that were to travel on the tickets cancelled their trips.

Sources say there are many other unaccounted expenditure loopholes not recorded in the procurement register of the Commission and as a result of that Billions of Leones have slipped outside the Commission with no one to take responsibility of such huge sums of money.

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