Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Legal Aid Appears before Public Enterprise Committee

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By Yankuba Jallow

The National Agency for Legal Aid has on Thursday, 13th February 2020 appeared before the Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) to submit their reports for consideration.
Halifa Sallah, the Chairperson of PEC said it is a requirement of the law for public enterprises to submit their activity reports and financial statements before their committee three months after the end of the financial year. He cited section 175 (5) of the Constitution which states:

“A Public Enterprise shall, within three months of the end of its financial year submit an annual report to the National Assembly on its business and operations during the preceding year.”

He added that they have a mandate to extend the time. He said this is why the Committee is engaging public enterprises to ensure that all the backlogs are cleared. Sallah said PEC is established to monitor the operations of Public Enterprises, and shall conduct their affairs in order to promote efficiency, transparency and probity in all their undertakings.

He told the representatives of the Agency that the Committee wants to do away with history that is why they want to complete the submission and presentation of all backlog activity and financial statements.

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The Agency was supposed to present their activity and financial statements for the years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Neneh M.C. Cham, the Chairperson of the Board for NALA said they have submitted their reports to the National Audit Office but they haven’t received audit reports from the auditors.

“We have submitted all we should submit to the National Audit Office including 2018 reports, but we are yet to receive anything from them. We only received audited reports of 2015 and 2016 from them an hour before we come to the National Assembly,” she said.

Sallah stood down the session to allow NALA to engage with the representatives of the National Audit Office in a discussion to come up with a timeframe as to when they will be able to submit their reports and final statements.

When the session resumed, the auditors and NALA agreed that they will be able to submit the 2015 and 2016 activity and financial report before 31st March 2020. Also, the two parties agreed to submit the report and financial statement of 2017 on the 10th April 2020. They told the Committee that they will be able to submit their 2018 and 2019 activity report and financial statement before 31st August 2020.

At this juncture, the session was adjourned. Sessions continue today and NAWEC is expected to submit their activity and financial reports.

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