Friday, September 29, 2023

NA adopts FPAC resolutions on govt parastatals, local councils

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By: Alieu Jallow

The National Assembly of the Gambia on Monday, September 18, adopted the resolutions for the 2019 audited accounts of government agencies and local councils.

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The committee followed the guidelines outlined in the 1997 Constitution of Public Finance Act 2014 and Finance Regulations 2016. They decided to compile a comprehensive list of fraudulent cases from all government institutions, including the Accountant General’s Office, Auditor General’s Office, Inspector General of Police, and judiciary. This list should include names, amounts, dates, and current status. If the Inspector General of Police does not launch an investigation immediately, they must report back to the FPAC. Additionally, the committee stated that the Accountant General must reconcile all unreconciled government transactions from the 2019 audited accounts before the end of the financial year 2023. If they do not, the Permanent Secretary and Minister of Finance must punish those responsible.

The committee also demanded answers regarding the Banjul roads and drainage projects that caused public outrage when many homes flooded, leading to thousands being internally displaced. The Secretary General of the President must provide a written explanation to the FPAC about accepting the Banjul drainage, roads, and sewages contract and evidence that GAI enterprise is the most suitable and qualified to carry out this project by September 28, 2023.

According to the BBC, The Gambia imported over 300,000 tonnes of timber to China between 2017 and 2020. To combat illegal logging, The Gambia banned timber exports and revoked export licenses. Port authorities were instructed to refuse to load timber logs onto any vessels, leading to the confiscation of tonnes of timber at the border and ports.

During the presentation of the resolutions, the Chair of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC), Hon. Alagie S Darboe, emphasized that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment must provide all agreements with the government of Senegal relating to forfeited timber seized on Gambian soil and all payments made from the proceeds. This must be done before September 28, 2023, and provided to the auditors, Auditor General, and FPAC.

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“The Permanent Secretary, Minister of Environment must provide to the auditors and FPAC the authority to spend the funds generated from the sales of confiscated timber on or before 2023,” said Darboe.

The committee examined the local councils and determined that the select committee for regional government should visit the Brikama Area Council no later than October 2023 to investigate concerns regarding the new BAC office building.

Additionally, the committee strongly urged the CEO of the Janjabureheh Area Council to promptly produce any outstanding vouchers by September 28, 2012.

“The failure of with the equivalent amount to be deposited into the account of the gang member Area Council for the inspector general must launch an investigation immediately and report to the FPAC within 90 days”.

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The six legislatures are on course to recover missing public funds and regulate the government parastatals and local councils to avoid further financial mismanagement.

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