By Muhammad Bah & Rohey Jadama
The Auditor General of the Gambia Mr. Karamba Touray on Thursday 30th October 2014 at the National Assembly responded to questions relating to the government audited account 2011 and had outlined the main financial problems in terms of government finances which are the taxpayer’s monies.
Mr. Touray highlighted matters arising from his audit. He said the misuse of contingency funds does not appear to be unforeseen and urgent expenditure. Auditor Touray said it is in contravention of section 154 of the constitution. He opined that most of the expenditures were means of circumventing the approval mechanism of budgets by the National Assembly.
Mr. Touray noted that payment vouchers amounting to D910, 165 were attached with only one invoice and that is opposed to the three quotations required by the Gambia Public Procurement Authority. He indicated poor control and supervision which is leading to fraud and irregularities.
Auditor General Touray said payment vouchers are not provided, others lack supporting documents and this amounted to 6 Million Dalasis missing, adding vouchers without supporting document is 2 million dalasi and that too is in contravention of the Financial Instruction. He told deputies that without payment vouchers; he will not be able to confirm the validity of the payments.
The Auditor General continued to highlight the major financial problems regarding government finances. He said the recognition of cash receipts, cash payments and cash balance under the entities control is not done by government institutions. He informed Lawmakers that 7 million dalasis is identified which was held in commercial bank accounts and was not included in the financial statements of government.
Mr. Touray pointed out the Budget Management and Accountability Act 2004 which states that commercial bank accounts could only be used in exceptional circumstances and must be approved by the Secretary of State and Permanent Secretary. He informed deputies that he was not provided with evidence of any approval made by those two offices.
In his further report, the Accountant General informed NAMs that there is no summary of outstanding public debts both external and domestic as required by the Budget Management and Accountability Act. He quoted section 42 of the GBMMA which requires the inclusion of a summary of government outstanding loans issued by government revealing that government on-lend loans to Gambia Civil Aviation Authority, NAWEC, GAMTEL and Gambia Groundnut Cooperation were deleted from the financial statements.
On imprest, Accountant General Touray said “all imprests must be retired on or before the last day of the financial year or earlier date as specified by the Treasurer directorate or Permanent Secretary when authorizing the imprest.” He highlighted that there were unretired imprests which total 72 million dalasis and said this can negatively affect the cash flow position of government.
On his final opinion, the Auditor General said the government needs to make urgent focus on ensuring that the financial statements capture the Accounting transactions entirely from all the bank accounts, from the direct government expenditure of budget and all development expenditure including projects.