Friday, July 30, 2021

Could A Report Of The Auditor General Be Kept Secret By The National Assembly?

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It is important to help the Gambian population to understand the office of the Auditor General.

Section 160 of the Constitution requires the Auditor General to submit a report to the National Assembly on an annual basis. Section 160(1)(c) states:

“The Auditor-General shall at least once in every year audit and report on the public accounts of The Gambia, the accounts of all offices and authorities of the Government of The Gambia, the accounts of the courts, the accounts of the National Assembly and the accounts of all Public Enterprises.”

Should the National Assembly fail to discuss the report section 160(e) stipulates:

“The Auditor-General shall after his or her annual reports on the accounts of the Government of The Gambia, of all offices and authorities of the Government, of the courts and of the National Assembly have been discussed in the National Assembly, cause the same to be published for public information:

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Provided that where there is any undue delay in the discussion of any such accounts in the National Assembly, the Auditor-General may publish his or her report in advance of such discussion.”

Hence the National Assembly cannot prevent the Auditor from publishing his report.

Furthermore the Auditor General is more powerful than this. If the Auditor-General discovers any corrupt practice during an audit exercise section 160(5) states:

“Wherever discrepancies of a criminal or fraudulent nature are discovered during the audit of accounts by the Auditor-General, he or she shall immediately cause a report of his or her findings to be submitted to the Inspector-General of Police.”

Hence it should be clear to all readers that the Constitution has made the Auditor General to be completely independent of the National Assembly as far as transparency is concerned in ensuring public access to his or her report and combating corruption detected during audit exercise.

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