Consulting in Liberia – LEITI

    Steven Ponsonby was afforded the opportunity to undertake a consulting assignment in Liberia.  Whilst, not your typical holiday destination, the opportunity allowed Steven Ponsonby to apply his Forensic Accounting expertise on an international level.

    EITI or Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative was established by Tony Blair in October 2002.
    In a nut shell, EITI is all about

    Countries rich in natural resources such as oil, gas, and mining have tended to under-perform economically, have a higher incidence of conflict, and suffer from poor governance. These effects are not inevitable and it is hoped that by encouraging greater transparency in countries rich in these resources, some of the potential negative impacts can be mitigated.”  An extract from the

    EITI website.  Further information on EITI can be found at http://eitransparency.org/
    Liberia joined the EITI program and is a third world country, rich in natural resources, however extremely poor and struggling to lift itself from the devastation caused by years of civil war and political unrest.

    However, with a determined government led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia initiated the EITI program and won an award at the recent DOHA conference for the best 1st stage implementation of EITI.

    Liberia has also become the first EITI candidate country to incorporate timber (a renewable resource) into the program, thereby setting a benchmark for other countries, such as the Solomon Islands to follow.

    Our role was to undertake a review and quantification of all taxes and levies paid by the extractive industries to the Liberian Government.

    Whilst, our mandate wasn’t based around fraud, one incidence was uncovered which has been referred to the local authorities for further investigation.

    Please refer to http://www.leiti.org.lr/doc/report.pdf for a summary report prepared by the Liberian government that summarises the data reviewed and reported on in the report.  A full copy of the report can also be accessed at http://www.leiti.org.lr/doc/LEITIADMINISTRATORSREPORT01.pdf

    Steven Ponsonby is a Chartered Accountant FCA, a Certified Fraud Examiner CFE and Insolvency Practitioner RITP and is the founding Director of Forensic Accounting Pty Ltd, a leading independent forensic accounting practice, providing forensic accounting services and expertise to a broad spectrum of clients across Australia.

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