Wednesday, May 18, 2022

NA Local Government Committee Unable To Listen To Financial Statements of Three Area Councils

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By Makutu Manneh

The National Assembly’s Local government committee on Tuesday was unable to listen to the financial statement of the Banjul City Council, Janjangbureh Area Council and the Mansakonko Area Council.

The committee was not able to listen to reports of these councils because the councils did not submit their report to the office of the clerk.

The three councils gave different reasons as to why they were not able to present their financial statement, the management letter and the GPPA compliance report.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Banjul City Council (BCC), Mustapha Batchily, informed members of the committee that BCC did not submit their reports because they have not gotten the last draft audit report of 2019 from the National Audit Office (NAO).

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“I think the audit department will be in a better position to attest to this fact,” he said.

Bakary Trawally , director of the National Audit Office (NAO) responsible for auditing municipalities and area councils, responded that the council’s 2019 and 2020 reports are not yet finalised but the 2017 and 2018 have been finalised but not yet discussed.

“Currently we are auditing the 2019 and 2020 reports but the 2017/18 management letter is ready and is yet to be discussed so they still have a report that is to be discussed,” he said.

Musa Amul Nyassi, chairman of the NA local government committee and its members rescheduled BCC to appear before them on a later date to present the management letter for 2018 together with the GPPA compliance report.

The date for BCC to appear before the committee has not been established.

“We appeal to the national audit office to hasten the process such that we can reschedule BCC to appear before the committee at a later date,” he said.

“Then upon completion of the 2019 and 2020 audit exercise the next parliament will now pick it from there.”

 Janjanbureh Area Council

Pa Sait Ceesay, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Janjangbureh Area Council explained to the NA local government committee that he and our members of the council took over the management in February 2021 and found that the auditing exercise was not done from 2019 to date.

“But the auditors have now completed their auditing and we have received the draft just last week and we are working on it to respond,” he said.

Bakary Trawally of the audit office attested to the explanation of the council and mentioned that one of the reasons for the delay was due to Covid-19.

“Janjangbureh is a small council, normally we do not have a problem with them,” Mr. Trawally said.

The committee advised the council to engage the former management for them to get all the necessary information to respond to the audit quarries.

“It is your mandate to get the necessary information from them,” said Amul Nyassi, chair of the committee.

“We cannot do anything more than reschedule the Janjangbureh Area Council to appear before the council.”

Mansakonko Area Council

On the side of the Mansakonko Area Council, they submitted a draft report to the committee from the audit office which was not accepted by the committee.

Seedy K. Touray, Chief Executive Officer of the council noted that the National Audit office submitted the final report to them but they requested for the soft copy which had brought the misunderstanding of them printing out the draft report.

“We have the final copy and I requested for the soft copy to print it out and the one sent to me was the draft,” he said.  

Mr. Trawally said they have sent the final report to the council since 8th of October 2021. However, he said they sent the hard copy and it is unsafe for them to send the soft copy of the report.

The committee tasked the council to submit their final report latest Friday 21st January 2022. “This is not the first time this team is appearing before the select committee and during the precious engagement with them they have submitted the right documents,” said the chair of the committee

All the three councils are rescheduled to appear before the committee again but no specific date is given as for now.

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