FPAC: No Evidence of Recoveries on D602 Thousand Incurred on Visa Fee

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By: Kebba AF Touray

The Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the Assembly (FPAC) has reported that the sum of six hundred and two thousand Dalasi (D602,000) remains as an outstanding balance for Visa Fee.

For the Gambia Immigration Department (Sea Port), the FPAC Chairperson and National Assembly Member for Brikama North Alhagie S. Darboe disclosed that “Police investigation revealed that visa fee amounting to one million, three hundred and two thousand (D1,302,000) was received by the Cashier, but only seven hundred thousand Dalasi (D700,000) was paid to the government leaving a balance of D602,000 which was shared among the officers.”

FPAC made this revelation in its 2019 Audited Accounts of the Government COVID-19 Phase Two report, financial statements of agencies, institutions, municipalities and area Councils.

Dilating on the Report, the Chairperson of FPAC, quoting from the losses of the public money segment of the said report, said the Auditors, who reviewed the fraud file, alleged that nine fraud cases were investigated and reported in financial statements during the period under review.

The monies, he said, were misappropriated by officials and were not fully recovered and there was no evidence of active mechanisms in place to recover the outstanding balances, and no evidence has been provided to show that legal action was instituted against suspects to recover the outstanding balances.

He stated that no evidence of recoveries was made available for their review.

On Brikama Health Center, he reported that the unaccounted revenue collections resulted to the loss in the tune of Four Hundred and Two Thousand, Six Hundred and Seventy-Four Dalasi (D402,674.00)

“Receipts amounting to One Hundred and Twenty-Nine Thousand Dalasi (D129,000) were recovered leaving an outstanding balance of Two Hundred and Seventy-Three Thousand, Six Hundred and Seventy-Four Dalasi (D273,674),” he said.

On the Kerewan Sub-Treasury, Hon. Darboe reported that there is unaccounted cash totaling six million, five hundred and ninety-two thousand one hundred and seventy-two Dalasi and fifty Bututs (D6,592,172.50). He said no evidence of recovery was provided on this amount as well.

“Unaccounted cash totaling Five Hundred and Twenty-One Thousand Dalasi (D521,000.00) was lost and no evidence provided,” he said on Janjanbureh Sub-Treasury.

Reporting on the Forestry Department, he said there was an unauthorized transaction in a Project Account leading to the loss of eight hundred and thirty-nine thousand and five hundred Dalasi (D839,500.00).

Out of this, he said, an amount of five hundred and ten thousand and sixty Dalasi was recovered leaving an outstanding balance of three hundred and twenty-nine thousand four hundred and forty Dalasi (D329,440).

“The Accountant General should make every effort to ensure that the amounts are recovered and should provide a status update on these suspected fraud cases,” the Finance and Public Accounts Committee recommends.

The committee noted with grave concern the findings of the Auditor General and further demanded that the Accountant General provides an urgent update on these suspected fraud cases, giving the names of persons involved, their offices, and periods concerned by October 2023.