Home Governance Finance Ministry’s Top Brass Linked To US$200,000 ‘Bus Fraud’

Finance Ministry’s Top Brass Linked To US$200,000 ‘Bus Fraud’

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: It was not your average audit report. On May 16th, a panel of auditors and the senior management team of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning dismissed Eric B. Akoi, the Director of Procurement, and imposed on him to turn over all properties of the country’s financial house.

When their investigation concluded, Mr. Akoi responded by denying all allegations and submitted ‘an adjusted contract, reducing the number of buses from three to two.’

However, the internal audit agency report noted that he did not amend or withdraw his prior request to the then Deputy Minister for Administration for the reduction in the number of buses from three to two.

“Mr. Akoi informed the team of his conversation with the vendor, Mr. Malike Dukuly, CEO of Duke CARMAX Inc., through his WhatsApp account but did not disclose the content of their conversation or provide a hard copy when asked to do so,” the audit report explained.

The internal auditors found that Mr. Akoi refused to account for the purchase of two buses that have never been delivered since November 2021.

The report also implicated other officials, including Mr. Alhaji Dukuly, Comptroller (Budget and Finance Unit), and Rebecca Yonger McGill, former Deputy Finance Minister under former President George Weah administration.

The audit report is a first for the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning under the current management team headed by Minister Boimah Kamara. Akoi allegedly embezzled US$200,000, and the auditors noted that his procurement unit had requested full payment for the buses “even though they knew they had not been delivered.”

Akoi and the others were investigated as part of a national corruption crackdown that has swept up numerous officials and members of the Liberian government in recent months.

The dismissed procurement director suggested in private discussions that he sees the move as a witch-hunt. Scores of political pundits staged social media blackmailing after Akoi’s dismissal in May.

Deputy Minister Bill McGill Jones has identified hundreds of employees who are victims of the bus scandal, which has shocked public sector service delivery at the Ministry of Finance.

Akoi, who was the procurement director, is also linked to using public funds to purchase the two buses outside of the Internal Audit Unit at the Ministry of Finance, as required by law.

Many government officials have been indicted since Boakai’s administration corruption crackdown, across Ministries and agencies since January 2024.

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