Auditor General Presents Report to Parlimentarians

Abdoulie G. Dibba
The Auditor General of The Gambia, Karamba Touray, on Wednesday 15Auditor General Karamba Touray
April 2015 presented his Annual Report to the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committees of the National Assembly.
This is pursuant to section 160(1) (d) of the Constitution of the
Republic of the Gambia.In his presentation said the Report is a compilation of significant
findings that came to the attention of the National Audit Office
during the audits.
Mr Touray noted that it is designed to bring to the attention of the
National Assembly those matters arising out of the audits which are
considered to be significant and have not been adequately addressed by
the audit or not addressed at all.
As Auditor General he said, his main responsibility is to conduct
financial and regularity audits; economy, efficiency and effectiveness
audits, otherwise known as value for money or performance audits of
public revenue and expenditure.
Auditor General Touray told the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises
Committee Members of the National Assembly that it is important to
note that whilst financial and regularity audits focus mainly on
conformity of administrative action with the law, the budget and other
relevant accounting, financial and administrative regulations,
economy, efficiency and effectiveness audits go beyond judgements of
compliance and accuracy to also evaluate performance and the value for
money obtained through government transactions.
He noted that the past decade has seen a seismic shift towards
performance audit in Africa.
Continuing with his Audit presentation, Karamba Touray informed the
PAC/PEC that Section 160 (1) (a) of the Constitution requires him to
ensure that before any money is withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund
or any other public fund, the withdrawal is in accordance with the
provision charging the same on that fund or the relevant Appropriation
Act or other Act of the National Assembly and that it complies with
the procedures prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
Dilating on matters of general concern, Auditor General Touray
asserted that failure to comply with Government Financial Instructions
is a regular  feature  of their audit  reports and that it  is  the
duty  of  Accounting  Officers  to  ensure  that  their  staff  are
conversant with the appropriate  parts of the Instructions  and that
they have access  to them at all reasonable  times.
Mr Touray noted that while Section  140 of Financial Instructions
states  that “Payment  Vouchers  must  be accompanied  by  the
appropriate  supporting  documents  which  may  include  original
invoices,  time pay  sheets,  local purchase  orders  and in the case
of imprest  holders petty cash vouchers,” he said they have observed
numerous  instances  of lack of adequate  supporting  documents  to
payment  vouchers in which case, it is difficult to verify the
accuracy  of the payments and also to determine to what extent the
lack of supporting  documentation is, whether an attempt to conceal
fraud, misappropriation of funds or just poor record keeping.
On Payment without the Required Three Quotations, AG Touray told
Deputies that Gambia Public Procurement  Regulation  (GPPR)  12
dealing  with thresholds  for procurement  transactions  sets  the
threshold  for  the  procurement  of  goods  and services at
D10,000.00 and  D30,000.00 respectively,  in  which  case  a minimum
of three quotations must be received.
He went further to say that Gambia Public Procurement Act (GPPA) 44
(2) stipulates that “Local requests for quotation proceedings shall
be used  when  desired  goods, works or  services are ordinarily
available from three or more sources in The Gambia at competitive
prices and conditions,” and that GPPA  regulations  also
require  that  procurement above  D500, 000 should be done through
open or restricted tendering.
Touray pointed out that the requirement  to  obtain  three  quotation
is  predicated  on  the  premise that  the process  will  avail
Government  the  opportunity  to  obtain  high  quality  goods
and services at very competitive prices and that suppliers  will have
fair and equal access to the business.
Continuing with his report, Auditor General Touray noted that while
section 142 of the Financial Instruction  States that “Where the payment
voucher covers payments to more than one person e.g. a group of
employees, the voucher should be prepared in the title of the Vote
Controller of that department or Treasury and supported by the
appropriate time pay sheets or attachment lists”.
He said they have observed several instances where payment
vouchers in respect of groups of persons have not been endorsed by
recipients to confirm receipt of payment and that lack of recipient
signatures to payment vouchers cast doubt to the authenticity of
payments.
On Single Source Procurement, he stated that the Gambia Public
Procurement Act 2001 section 45(1) indicates that Single-source
procurement method may be used only in the following circumstances:
a) “When the estimated value of the procurement does not exceed the
amount set in the Regulations;
b) When only one supplier has the technical capability or capacity to
fulfill the procurement requirement”.
However he said, they have observed many instances where there is no
evidence of competitive tendering being used and no approval of single
source procurement obtained from GPPA and this has resulted to
purchases at inflated process.
He noted that Competitive tendering is an important mechanism to
ensure that good quality goods and services are obtained at the best
price and that suppliers have equal and fair access to business.
On Retirement of lmprest,  Karamba Touray noted that Section 184 of
the Financial Instructions 2004 states that “All imprests must be
retired on or before the last day of the financial year or on such
earlier date as specified by the Treasury Directorate or Permanent
Secretary, when authorizing the imprest”, there is a tendency among
public officer to treat imprests as unauthorised loans to themselves.
He said they have observed in a number of instances where the
retirement of imprests are delayed for far too long or not retired at
all in contravention to Financial Instructions.
On Theft of Funds, Touray stated that their audits reveal several
instances of theft of funds through falsification of documents or
suppression of revenue and that he said, “These matters are brought to
the attention of the Inspector General of Police for further action.”
In this report he said, he has highlighted instances of theft or
suppression of revenue with amounts ranging from few hundred dalasi to
millions of dalasi. “These are very serious matters and I urge all
public institutions to have in place adequate controls to stop such
thefts” stated Auditor General Karamba Touray.
Foroyaa will serialise the report of the Auditor General in subsequent editions.