Kebba AF Touray
The Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) of the National Assembly has stated that virement amounting to sixty-seven million, nine hundred and sixty thousand, six hundred and forty-four Dalasi and seventy-eight Bututs (D67, 960,644.78) were made between budget entities.
FPAC Committee Chairperson, Hon. Alhagie S Darboe and Member for Brikama North made this revelation while tabling the committee’s report on its scrutiny of government 2019 accounts, COVID-19 Phase Two Report and Financial Statements of Institutions, Agencies, Municipalities and Area Councils.
On budget management, he said “A review of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) files at the Ministry of Finance by the auditors revealed that virements amounting to D67, 960,644.78 were made between and cross budget entities.”
He stated that there was no evidence to suggest that these were approved by the Ministry before the transfers were made.
He further stated that a review of the files of MDAs at the Finance Ministry by the auditors revealed that virement totaling Two Billion, Four Hundred and Sixty-Nine Million, Four Hundred and Forty-one Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty-Seven Dalasi and Thirty-Eight Dalasi (D2,469,441,457.38) were made between and cross budget entities.
He said there was no evidence provided to auditors to suggest that a formal notification was sent by the Finance Ministry to the budget agencies or entities before or after the virements were made, which is contrary to Financial Regulations.
He also reported that the auditors requested the submission of the documentation to ascertain whether the 2019 budget for the Government of the Gambia was prepared in accordance with Call Circular guidelines on the implementation of program-based budgeting.
He however stated that the documents such as forecast revenue submitted by MDAs, the budget bilateral meeting minutes of remaining MDAs, nominal roll submitted by PMO to the Finance Ministry at the beginning of the year, and evidence review by IMF among others remain outstanding.
“A review of the itemized report revealed that 404 virements totaling two billion six hundred and eighty-seven million three hundred and sixty-twothousand three hundred and forty-one Dalasi and forty Bututs (D2,687,362, 341.40),” he said on virements above seventy five percent threshold.
This, he said, is contrary to section 29 (4) (A) of the Public Finance Act of 2014.
He added that FPAC among others recommends that the management provides an explanation as to why virements were made over the maximum threshold of seventy-five percent, evidence of virements approved by the Minister should be provided to the auditors and copied to FPAC for verification, and MoFEA should ensure that dictates of the constitution and Financial Regulations are adhered to.
He added, “The committee recommended that budget entities are notified whenever funds are wired from their volts, in accordance with the dictates of the Public Finance Act of 2014, and that MoFEA should ensure that virements are properly executed, to avoid excess and unwarranted expenditures and should also provide documentary evidence for making virements without notification.”