Thursday, December 7, 2023

Auditor General Presents Report to Parlimentarians


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Abdoulie G. Dibba The Auditor General of The Gambia, Karamba Touray, on Wednesday 15Auditor General Karamba Touray April 2015 presented his Annual Report to the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committees of the National Assembly. This is pursuant to section 160(1) (d) of the Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia.In his presentation said the Report is a compilation of significant findings that came to the attention of the National Audit Office during the audits. Mr Touray noted that it is designed to bring to the attention of the National Assembly those matters arising out of the audits which are considered to be significant and have not been adequately addressed by the audit or not addressed at all. As Auditor General he said, his main responsibility is to conduct financial and regularity audits; economy, efficiency and effectiveness audits, otherwise known as value for money or performance audits of public revenue and expenditure. Auditor General Touray told the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee Members of the National Assembly that it is important to note that whilst financial and regularity audits focus mainly on conformity of administrative action with the law, the budget and other relevant accounting, financial and administrative regulations, economy, efficiency and effectiveness audits go beyond judgements of compliance and accuracy to also evaluate performance and the value for money obtained through government transactions. He noted that the past decade has seen a seismic shift towards performance audit in Africa. Continuing with his Audit presentation, Karamba Touray informed the PAC/PEC that Section 160 (1) (a) of the Constitution requires him to ensure that before any money is withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund or any other public fund, the withdrawal is in accordance with the provision charging the same on that fund or the relevant Appropriation Act or other Act of the National Assembly and that it complies with the procedures prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly. Dilating on matters of general concern, Auditor General Touray asserted that failure to comply with Government Financial Instructions is a regular  feature  of their audit  reports and that it  is  the duty  of  Accounting  Officers  to  ensure  that  their  staff  are conversant with the appropriate  parts of the Instructions  and that they have access  to them at all reasonable  times. Mr Touray noted that while Section  140 of Financial Instructions states  that “Payment  Vouchers  must  be accompanied  by  the appropriate  supporting  documents  which  may  include  original invoices,  time pay  sheets,  local purchase  orders  and in the case of imprest  holders petty cash vouchers,” he said they have observed numerous  instances  of lack of adequate  supporting  documents  to payment  vouchers in which case, it is difficult to verify the accuracy  of the payments and also to determine to what extent the lack of supporting  documentation is, whether an attempt to conceal fraud, misappropriation of funds or just poor record keeping. On Payment without the Required Three Quotations, AG Touray told Deputies that Gambia Public Procurement  Regulation  (GPPR)  12 dealing  with thresholds  for procurement  transactions  sets  the threshold  for  the  procurement  of  goods  and services at D10,000.00 and  D30,000.00 respectively,  in  which  case  a minimum of three quotations must be received. He went further to say that Gambia Public Procurement Act (GPPA) 44 (2) stipulates that “Local requests for quotation proceedings shall be used  when  desired  goods, works or  services are ordinarily available from three or more sources in The Gambia at competitive prices and conditions,” and that GPPA  regulations  also require  that  procurement above  D500, 000 should be done through open or restricted tendering. Touray pointed out that the requirement  to  obtain  three  quotation is  predicated  on  the  premise that  the process  will  avail Government  the  opportunity  to  obtain  high  quality  goods and services at very competitive prices and that suppliers  will have fair and equal access to the business. Continuing with his report, Auditor General Touray noted that while section 142 of the Financial Instruction  States that “Where the payment voucher covers payments to more than one person e.g. a group of employees, the voucher should be prepared in the title of the Vote Controller of that department or Treasury and supported by the appropriate time pay sheets or attachment lists”. He said they have observed several instances where payment vouchers in respect of groups of persons have not been endorsed by recipients to confirm receipt of payment and that lack of recipient signatures to payment vouchers cast doubt to the authenticity of payments. On Single Source Procurement, he stated that the Gambia Public Procurement Act 2001 section 45(1) indicates that Single-source procurement method may be used only in the following circumstances: a) “When the estimated value of the procurement does not exceed the amount set in the Regulations; b) When only one supplier has the technical capability or capacity to fulfill the procurement requirement”. However he said, they have observed many instances where there is no evidence of competitive tendering being used and no approval of single source procurement obtained from GPPA and this has resulted to purchases at inflated process. He noted that Competitive tendering is an important mechanism to ensure that good quality goods and services are obtained at the best price and that suppliers have equal and fair access to business. On Retirement of lmprest,  Karamba Touray noted that Section 184 of the Financial Instructions 2004 states that “All imprests must be retired on or before the last day of the financial year or on such earlier date as specified by the Treasury Directorate or Permanent Secretary, when authorizing the imprest”, there is a tendency among public officer to treat imprests as unauthorised loans to themselves. He said they have observed in a number of instances where the retirement of imprests are delayed for far too long or not retired at all in contravention to Financial Instructions. On Theft of Funds, Touray stated that their audits reveal several instances of theft of funds through falsification of documents or suppression of revenue and that he said, “These matters are brought to the attention of the Inspector General of Police for further action.” In this report he said, he has highlighted instances of theft or suppression of revenue with amounts ranging from few hundred dalasi to millions of dalasi. “These are very serious matters and I urge all public institutions to have in place adequate controls to stop such thefts” stated Auditor General Karamba Touray. Foroyaa will serialise the report of the Auditor General in subsequent editions.]]>

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