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MFDP Terminates SOE Unit Head Contract

Press confrenceSiaffaDSC 3247The Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Boima S. Kamara, has announced the immediate termination of the contract of Siafa Chowo, head of the State Own Enterprise (SOE) Unit at the Ministry.

According to Minister Kamara, the Ministry took the appropriate action following findings from an Internal Audit report which, from all accounts point to Chowo unilateral withdrawal of forty seven thousand three hundred and eighteen United States dollars (US$47, 318.00) and one point nine million Liberian dollars (L$1.9 million)
Minister Kamara indicated during a press conference held at the Ministry on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 that Chowo who is to restitute said amounts will also be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution: “Without any reference to my office, Chowo allegedly carried out the transactions from August 2016 to February 2017 from an account that was illegally opened by him and the former Comptroller and Accountant-General, Sekou Sanoe with disregard to the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act.”

He maintained that, “Under the PFM Act, the opening of any account on behalf of government shall meet the expressed and written approval of the Finance Minister on request.”

“I am trying to put an end to the culture of corruption here at the Ministry. And just to find out that, after two weeks, another situation unfolded within the SOE unit of the Ministry where the head of the Unit, on his own, unilaterally performed illegal transactions by taking away over 40 thousand United States dollars and 1.9 million Liberian dollars, through the complete disregard to all of the procedures that allow such transactions. Especially so where the SOE unit of the Ministry reports directly to the office of the minister,” he emphasized.

He disclosed a complete change in the internal control process at the Ministry where the Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs and the Comptroller General will have to make requests for him, the (Minister) approval before proceeding with opening of accounts.

He said he has notified all banking institutions to not only accept the opening of accounts on behalf of government with his written and expressed approval, but additional layer of confirmation by telephone calls should be conducted.

Minister Kamara emphasized that his administration will not tolerate the culture of impunity. Stressing, “And therefore, the same way you chose to take government money illegally, we come public to shame you. So Mr. Siafa Chowo, the head of the SOE Unit will be made to account for US$47,318.00 and L$1.9 million that he took out of the system illegally. Also, all of those along the chain who, somehow, participated in the amounts taken will be suspended.

While assuring Liberians of his management team’s commitment in battling corruption at the MFDP, he warned he cautioned all officials and employees of the Ministry, including those in his office, to observe rules and regulations governing the management of public resources.

Following the commissioning of an internal audit of the State Owned Enterprise (SOE) Unit few weeks ago, just about in the middle of said investigation, the Ministry rejected a letter of resignation from Chowo and called on him to fully cooperate with investigations.

It can be recalled that prior to the commissioning of an internal audit of the SOE Unit financial transactions for the last year period, findings from the first internal audit commissioned by Minster Kamra, at the Reform Coordination Unit (RCU) at the ministry, discovered US$82,000.00 theft as the Coordinator and his Assistant who were held liable have since been forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution.

With less than a month following the dismissal of two officials of the ministry for alleged US$82,000.00 scandal, the head of the State Owned Enterprise (SOE) Unit at the Ministry, Mr. Siafa Chowo, has been dismissed and asked to account for nearly US$50,000 and 1.9 million Liberian dollars he allegedly stole.

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