LRA Probes CNDRA Officials For Corruption

LRA Commissioner General, Madam Elfrieda Stewart-Tamba
LRA Commissioner General, Madam Elfrieda Stewart-Tamba

Information reaching this news outlet has revealed that the management team of the Center for National Documentation & Records (CNDRA) is reportedly been investigated by auditors from the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) regarding the collection of fees that are not been deposited into Government revenue.

According to our source, the Director General of the CNDRA, Madam P. Bloh Sayeh and her Deputy, Martin Saye Kollah are said to be answering questions from auditors of the LRA on their alleged involvement of the collection of extra fees for marriage forms and other legal instruments depositing same at undisclosed bank accounts without the knowledge of the LRA.

Recently a whistle blower, Ebenezer A. Borbor in a press release called on the Liberian Government through the Liberia Revenue Authority to probe both officials of the CNDRA to give full account on how funds collected from the issuance of both Marriage Forms and Land Deeds are been utilized, and also accused them of diverting funds intended for government revenue.

Mr. Borbor alleged that over One Million United States Dollars covering the period of 2014, 2015 and 2016 cannot be accounted for on the part of the Bloh Sayeh’s administration, and further lamented that the amount of US75.00 for each Marriage Form collected from people intended for Government’s revenues is diverted and placed in extra accounts at G T Bank and Ecobank.

“The Whistle Blower” – Ebenezer Borbor
“The Whistle Blower” – Ebenezer Borbor

He said amount collected by the CNDRA management team at will has violated the Public Finance Management Act of 2009 Section 34: Banking Arrangement, Count number one to four, but highlighted specifically count three and four: which states that the main bank account of the government shall established in the Central Bank of Liberia, into which all revenues shall be deposited and from which all payments will be made; count four further said: “The Ministry may, in arrangement with the Central Bank of Liberia, authorize the opening of additional bank accounts at the Central Bank of Liberia and other accounts in domestic and foreign commercial banks, to act as transitory bank accounts to facilitate the collection of revenues or processing payment.”

In his release, Borbor maintained that the continuous diversion of government’s revenues at CNDRA is immensely contributing to the budgetary shortfall government is currently faced with, which is a serious impediment to government’s operations.

One of the recent communication addressed to the CNDRA officials dated on the 28th of November, 2016, a copy in the possession of the GNN-Liberia signed by the Commissioner General of the LRA, Madam Elfrieda Stewart-Tamba called on the management team of the CNDRA to effectively deposit into government’s revenue all funds illegally collected and placed in their ‘Selected Accounts’ without the knowledge of the LRA.

 Philomena Bloh Sayeh, Director General CNDRA

Philomena Bloh Sayeh, Director General CNDRA

In the communication, the LRA Boss stressed, “Pursuant to Section 2101 o the Liberia Revenue Act of 2000 as amended by the consolidated  tax Act of 2011 which states that ‘Every person who, or legal person which, consumes services ;or uses a privilege or right under the  control of government shall obtain from the appropriate Government agency, institution, or Ministry a permission, permit or instrument for which he or it shall pay or cause to be paid into the consolidated fund and available for appropriation by the legislature for the general purpose of the Government,” the letter from the LRA Commissioner General noted.

“This is advice that effective hereafter the full amount of the fee charged for any service provided by the CNDRA must be deposited in the General Revenue account by the taxpayer,” the letter with a strong worded lines stressed.

Based on this communication from the LRA to the CNDRA management team observers who spoke to our reporter this week expressed disappointment on the part of the Bloh Sayeh’s administration for its defiant role against the request from the LRA, and also frowned on the illegal dismissal of Mr. Borbor, the Whistle Blower.

According to a letter of dismissal of Mr. Ebenezer Borbor, and in the possession of this newspaper and signed by the Human Resource Director of the CNDRA, Ms. Tina Y. Weegi and dated on November 21, 2016 said, “The decision to dismiss you came from the findings from the investigative committee’s report:

  1. Your refusal to present all necessary evident to substantiate your claims, linking the Director General and Deputy Director General to little over one million United States Dollars corruption charges
  2. Your failure to follow the CSA Grievance procedure
  3. Your July 18, 2013 press lease accusing the Director General of misusing the World Bank fund without proofs.

Yout dismissal is in consonant with the Civil Service standing order of Chapter 4, Section 2, 2.2.2h which states dishonesty in the conduct of government business is subject to one month suspension without pay or dismissal,” the letter noted.

Also in reaction to Borbor’s allegation, both Director Sayeh and her Deputy for Administration, Martin Kollah rubbished the allegation on local radio stations, noting that they have not violated any Public Financial Management Act of 2009, and challenged their accuser to come out with evidence.

However, several individuals who spoke to our reporter on the issue, said they are watching out as to who is telling the truth relating to the issue, but noted that the probe being carried out by the LRA clearly speaks that where there is smoke there is fire.

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