Weaknesses Observed In Accountant General’s Report

By Awa B. Bah

The update on the lawful checks and scrutiny over public enterprises, agencies, and the public service delivery systems, continued at the national assembly Public Accounts Standing Committee (PAC), by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Lamin Camara.

The session is meant to provide an update with a view to ensure that public enterprises, agencies, and the public service delivery systems of the Gambia are financially, socially and potentially accountable to the Gambian populace through their elective representatives.

Lamin camara in his update on the level of implementation of the PAC, updated the committee on the implementation and management module to address challenging issues. Camara said that the joint session noticed from the auditor general’s report that MoFEA has disposed-off some assets during the period under audit, but the documentation regarding the process and procedures leading to the sale of the items, were not provided to the auditors.

The joint session he said recommends that the documentation be presented for verification to the auditors without further delay and that the auditor general should report back to the joint session at its next session, on their level of implementation. He revealed that all supporting documents relating to the disposal of the assets by MoFEA for the year 2012 and 2013, are available for review at the accountant general’s department; that the session also observed weaknesses from the auditor generals’ report on information technology controls as there was no IDMIS strategic plan for the period under review; that a strategic plan be developed to outline the IFMIS goals clearly and indicate how it will contribute to Government’s strategic IT objectives. He said that there is no IFMIS strategic plan.  Camara said that there exist an IFMIS project charter and project plan, clearly and defining the IFMIS governance structure and implementation approach. The IFMIS goals he said are in line with the government strategy and the information technology act.

He said that they observed from the auditor general’s report that there was a lack of defined maintenance plan and register. He said that there was no documented maintenance plan and maintenance register in place for IFMIS .This he said management may not be aware of the maintenance history of machines and this could lead to avoidable breakdowns. He called on them to maintain a plan and register to be put in place to include a record of IT equipment due for servicing.

He said that routing preventive maintenance of IFMIS equipment is carried out on quarterly basis. The UPS power backup for data centers including primary and disaster recovery are maintenance of half yearly basis through a support contract with the IFMIS suppliers (Soft-Tech).

He said there is inadequate IT environment controls from the auditor general report that during the auditor’s discussions with responsible officials about the environmental controls in place within the IFMIS revealed the following. He noted that fire extinguishers and smoke detectors have not been service during the period under review. He also said that there is no documented and tested emergency procedure in place.

He called on the accountant general’s department to ensure that there are better documented policies and the manual procedures regarding environmental controls. He said that fire extinguishers and smoke detectors be regularly checked for maintenance and that emergency procedure be put in place and all staff should be enlightened about it.

Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, he said are serviced regularly on need basis. He said there are no contracts with service providers in relation to maintenance service. This decision he said was reached by management upon review and assessment of quotations received.

He said they observed from the auditor General’s report that government procured services from various service providers such as Qcell which provide internet services to the IFMIS,GAMTEL provide Asymmetric Digital Line (MoICI) as well as telephone but he said the auditors were not provided with the Service Level Agreement (SLA) between government and the service providers.

Camara recommends that the service level agreement between government (IFMIS) and these service providers be put in place and made available to auditors for verification.

He revealed that there is an agreement with the internet service provider Qcell to provide maintenance and other services when required. This agreement he said was not documented into a formal contract which will be formalized through the ADSL service from GAMTEL for which they are not paying. This he said is provided through MoICI who would handle the service level agreement with the supplier.