President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has emphasized that the era of doing things with impunity in the civil service is over.He made this statement during the presentation of administrative inquiry report on the re-direction of the salary of the former Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Robin-Mason.
While receiving the report submitted by the Disciplinary Committee of the Public Service Commission (PSC), President Koroma urged the civil service to work hard to track down people who are determined to beat the system. “We have to always be alert but we have to also have a supportive and efficient system environment,” he said.
The report said that on 26 October 2015, the PSC commenced disciplinary proceedings against two officers in the Accountant General’s Department, Messrs Aruna Dauda Kamara and Ibrahim Mansaray. This move was to maintain the integrity in payroll management in the civil service. “We have known for long that we have on Government Payroll names that ought not to be there.
Several payroll verification exercises have been conducted over the years and across the Public Service as a way of dealing with the problem…Unfortunately, and as this inquiry reveals, the task of payroll management has been made incredibly difficult not necessarily by electronic system errors, but by the deliberate actions of Public Servants entrusted with the responsibility of managing the systems and processes involved,” said Dr. Amadu Max Sesay, Chairman of the PSC.
The inquiry also found the two officers in the Accountant General’s Department culpable not just in the illegal act of allowing the salary of Mr. Robin-Mason to continue to run after he had resigned, but also in the attempt to re-direct that salary into the personal UTB account of Mr. Aruna Kamara.
According to the report, Mr. Robin-Mason admitted that he had acted “unwisely” and “stupidly” and accepted responsibility for the repayment of the entire sum of Le221, 660,844 in equal monthly installments over a period of 24 months.
The president assured of government’s support to help the Human Resources Management Office (HRMO) instill discipline within the service and also intensify the fight against corruption.
He lamented the fact that the bloated payroll within the civil service is causing a lot of problems, and said that the measures taken by government in rightsizing the civil service would help to reverse the trend. President Koroma promised to look into the report and its recommendations and said that he attaches great importance to it.
The disciplinary committee therefore recommends that the Director General of HRMO refers the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission for further investigation with a view to prosecuting Messrs Aruna D. Kamara and Ibrahim Mansaray for their roles in illegally allowing the continued payment of salary to Mr. Robin-Mason beyond his effective resignation date and for their fraudulently attempt to re-direct the same salary into the account of one of them, Aruna D. Kamara. The committee also recommends that the two officers remain suspended and their salaries now formally withheld, or reduced to zero, pending the outcome of the ACC investigation.
The committee also recommends that the Director General of HRMO should issue Mr. Robin-Mason an ultimatum of one month from the date of publication of the report to repay the entire remaining amount owed to the Government of Sierra Leone or risk persecution.