It has been alleged that proceeds from the sale of Japanese rice was not accounted for by senior officials of the Ministry of Trade and Industry whose substantive political head has been absent for a considerable length of time due to ill health.

According to the Auditor General’s report, on 5th February 2014, the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Japan signed an Exchange of Notes in connection with food assistance. This resulted in a donation of 6,658 metric tons of rice by the Government of Japan to the Government of Sierra Leone.

The report further alleged that an agreement was also signed between the Ministry and BSB International on the 13th August 2014, for the sale of the said rice for the sum of Le11, 023,306,399.

The purchaser was required to pay the full sum within 12 months after the signing of the final contract agreement. However, there was no evidence in the form of an invoice, bank transfer letter/deposit slip or bank statements, to confirm that the proceeds made from the sale of the rice were deposited into an authorized bank account as at 31st December, 2014.

The report disclosed the splitting of procurement in order to evade National Competitive Bidding. This included the procurement of stationery, computer accessories and sundry items, with total value of Le333, 210,000 and Le362, 389,000 was done in tranches in an effort to allegedly evade the National Competitive Bidding process.

The auditors stated that in an interview with the Procurement Officer, it was revealed that he was not involved in the procurement process.

The report recommended that the Senior Accountant should ensure that documentary evidence be provided to justify the procurement done in tranches in contravention of the National Competitive Bidding.