By: Kebba AF Touray
The Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) of the National Assembly of the Gambia reports that evidence on procurement amounting to one hundred and ninety-nine million, nine hundred and seventy-nine thousand, seven hundred and eight Dalasi (D199, 979,708) was not provided by the Ministry of Finance.
FPAC disclosed this and other statements in its parliamentary scrutiny report on the 2019 Accounts of the Government of the Gambia, Auditor General’s Report on COVID-19 Phase 2, financial statement of public agencies and institutions, Municipalities and Area Councils. The Chairperson of the Committee and member for Brirkama North, Hon. Alhagie S Darboe tabled the said report on Monday, 11 September before lawmakers. Tabling the report, Hon. Darboe said: “A total of D750 million was appropriated for the COVID-19 health response out of which D199, 979,709 was spent on procurement and usage of quarantine centers/facilities for the period 1st March to 31st December 2020.”
These expenditures on quarantine centers, he said, were obtained by the auditors from a detailed transaction listing through the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS).
On key findings and observations, Hon. Darboe told members of the Assembly that the said total was also spent on procurement and usage of quarantine centers without any need’s assessment conducted.
On failure to comply with procurement rules, Hon. Darboe said services amounting to eight million, nine hundred and ninety-five thousand, two hundred and thirty-five Dalasi (D8, 995,235), were rendered even before the request for approval was sent to GPPA, noting that the contracts were awarded before GPPA’s approval was granted. He said this was confirmed by auditors who disclosed that the award for the procurement of quarantine centers was issued before obtaining approval from the GPPA.
He reported that payment of one hundred and ninety-three million, two hundred and seven thousand, eight hundred and forty-three Dalasi (D193,207,843.00), was sourced through a request for quotations, adding that the auditors were not provided with evidence to confirm the method of procurement, as the list of service providers with their respective price quotations, were not presented for review.
Hon. Darboe then gave FPAC’s recommendation as follows: “Procurement should not be carried out without proper needs assessments because it is an important activity that ensures that required quarantine centers or facilities are procured and used to avoid wastage of resources.”
“All proposed contracts for procurement be submitted to the GPPA for approval, along with the complete contract file.”
He added, “Authorizing officers should ensure that quotations are requested and provided for by at least three independent bidders and the most responsive bidder selected before payments are authorized and approved; and “for the Ministry of Health to provide FPAC within 72 days, all material evidence relating to the request for quotations.”