Lawrence Williams: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 January 2021:
There is high possibility that the National Revenue Authority of Sierra Leone has lost tax revenue amounting to 11 billion Leones, audit reports revealed.
The 2019 Annual Audit Report shows that MDAs, Public Enterprises and Local Councils deducted withholding taxes amounting to Le8.8 billion but failed to pay it over to the NRA as by law established.
The Covid-19 audit reveals serious financial flaws in the handling of withholding taxes by NaCOVERC, IHPAU and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
These institutions withheld taxes amounting to Le1.8 billion but reneged on paying it over to the revenue authority. They also failed to deduct Le39.4 million withholding taxes from payments made to contractors and suppliers.
Figures collated by this reporter totalling Le10,685,903,793 (Le10.6bn.) of withholding taxes deducted (in some cases not deducted) were held on to by ministries, departments and agencies of government including local councils, public enterprises, NaCOVERC and the Integrated Health Projects Administration Unit (IHPAU).
PAYE tax amounting to over Le400 million were also not deducted and paid over to the NRA. This brings the total amount of taxes due to the NRA to Le11 billion.
Separate from that amount, NASSIT contributions withheld by local councils amounting to Le26 million were not paid over to the Trust. This, the auditors say, would increase the risk of penalty on the defaulters.