By: Kebba AF Touray
Ousman Sillah, the National Assembly Member for Banjul North, has called on both the outgoing and incoming legislature to ensure on recommendations on the audit reports.
Mr. Sillah expressed these concerns during an interview on West Coast Radio’s ‘Coffee Time’ program on instances wherein such reports and recommendations on those can be left unimplemented.
“Things are very slow. There is a backlog of audit reports and I think we stopped at 2019, and there are reports for 2017 and 2018. It is the duty of this outgoing National Assembly and the incoming one, to expedite the process to ensure that the backlogs are not only addressed, but ensure that actions are taken on the recommendations made on reports”, he lamented.
Mr. Sillah who also doubles as the Chairperson of the National Assembly Select Committee on Health, said he is not aware of any formal submission and receipt of any report on Covid-19 funds.
“We should not be making pronouncement on anything that is not before us at the National Assembly. Audit reports are supposed to be submitted to the National Assembly formally, by the Auditor General on any Government, Ministry, Department or Agency”, he said; that when such reports come to the legislature, it will be committed to the relevant committee whose responsibility it will be to review, develop and present a report on its findings on that particular report.
“Such Committee reports also include the recommendations of the committee for onward presentation to the plenary. There and then the plenary will debate on it and finally agree on what steps to take. So as far as I know, I did not receive any report in that regard”, he clarified. Mr. Sillah further explained that during the course of the Covid-19, they have been engaging the Health Ministry and at some point, the Health Minister was even invited by the National Assembly, as well as the Committee, to provide them with updates as per Covid-19 activities; that regarding funding and how they were utilized, the National Assembly also received reports as to how they had spent some of the resources. But that one cannot make any pronouncement unless there is an audit, because it is the audit report that determines what happened with the funds.
He continued that the audit report determines whether or not, the resources were properly utilized and in its absence, one cannot make any pronouncement in that regard.
“We have received information regarding how they spent some of the money. But at some point, the Minister came and there was information. We are waiting for the report to be able to determine what had happen,” he asserted.