By Bill W. Cooper
The Fiscal Audit Unit at the Ministry of Finance has been gutted by fire, causing widespread damage thereby raising concerns about the damage done to the nation’s financial stability and records.
The Fiscal Audit Unit is on the third floor of the building, and it is a key to tons of financial audit documents of all government transactions.
The blaze, according to eyewitnesses, erupted early on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, engulfing the building and leaving behind a scene of total and unexplainable destruction.
According to them, thick plumes of smoke were also seen coming out of the building, as firefighters of the Liberia National Fire Service swiftly battled the raging flames, even though it took several hours to bring the fire under control.
As citizens scrambled over the actual cause of the fire, the Ministry, confirming the incident, said, “During the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 25, 2023, fire gutted one of the offices on the third floor of the Finance Ministry.”
According to the Ministry’s release, with the support of the LNFS and workers of the Ministry, the fire was successfully extinguished, with no loss of lives or injuries, disclosing that central government financial records were not affected by the fire.
The Ministry, in its release, maintained, “The LNFS collected relevant information and is investigating the cause of the fire, as the outcome of the Fire Service investigation and report will be made public, including the extent of the damages to the section.”
The release further stated that while the investigation is ongoing, the Finance Ministry assured its staff, the business community, tax payers, and the general public, that regular operations have resumed.
This, the release added, “The ministry also thanks the National Fire Service and its staff for their gallantry in extinguishing this fire and saving a critical national asset.”
As news of this devastating fire spreads, it will surely attract attention from the international community, as investigative efforts must be conducted swiftly and effectively to restore confidence in the nation’s financial system, and promote transparency.