By Kebba Secka
National Assembly’s Select Committee on Lands, Local Governments, Religious Affairs and Ombudsman on Wednesday January 20th 2021, said the seven regional Area Councils have relatively improved in submitting their activities, management and financial reports for 2017, 2018 and 2019 to the aforementioned committee.
The committee is an oversight body of the national assembly tasked with the responsibility of engaging local government authorities in a bid to understand their constraints and to strategize the way forward.
Last year, councils were asked to go back and put their houses in order to be able to submit their financial and activity reports of the aforementioned years.
It is against this backdrop that the Chairman of the Select Committee, Musa Amul Nyassi, sough confirmation from each of the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) about their state of preparedness in submitting their activity and financial reports before they were called to present them.
In responding to this inquiry, each of the CEOs took turn to confirm submitting their activity, financial and management reports for the said years.
None of the councils in their oral confirmation submitted all the requirements expected for 2017, 2018 and 2019 activity, financial and audited reports.
KMC claimed to have completed their reports but didn’t submit them to the clerk of the national assembly on time.
The Chief Executive Officer said: “The accounts for 2017, 2018 and 2019 were audited and we also received management letter from the Audit Office and GPPA. The activity report for 2017 and 2018 were done on time, but for 2019, we just compiled it and we’re yet to submit it for reasons beyond our control.”
For Janjanbureh, their 2017 and 2018 accounts are reported to have been audited but only the activity and financial reports of 2018 was completed and submitted to the clerk of the national assembly for the committee to scrutinize. Officials of this council also said they do not have the management letter for 2017.
Mansakonko Area Council confirmed to have audited accounts for 2017, management letter and a compliant letter from the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), but in 2018, it was a different scenario.
In 2018, the accounts were audited but officials were unable to reply to the queries of the draft report by the auditors.
After the accounts were audited and queries raised in a draft report, the council is expected to reply to the queries before the audit office prepares its final report.
“The council’s 2019, activity report was rejected by the Auditor General’s Office because, ‘it was submitted late,” Mansakonko CEO told the committee.
Like the aforementioned councils, other councils also confirmed loopholes in fulfilling their mandate to submit up-to-date reports of their activities to the national assembly for scrutiny.
They will be called upon on a later date to present their activity and financial reports.