Monday, April 22, 2024

Parliament to order NDMA to pay back over 137M of unaccounted covid relief funds

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By: Sarjo Brito

The Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) of the National Assembly is set to order the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) to pay back over 137 million dalasis of unaccounted-for covid funds following the government’s covid-19 relief programme.

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An explosive report by the Auditor General exposed how covid funds were misappropriated through inappropriate procurement and contracting processes among others.

According to the National Audit report, 859 million dalasis was set aside for food relief. Out of the 859 million, 832 million was spent by the Ministry of Trade to procure food items and the remaining 27 million was spent by the National Disaster Management Agency to transport and distribute food.

The National Assembly Member for Upper Saloum and Vice Chairperson of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee Honourable Alagie Mbowe said the move by the committee is to send a clear message to officials entrusted with public funds to use them for what they are intended and by the laws of the country. Mbowe added that this will reduce misuse and curb corruption.

“The message FPAC is sending out to everybody is that if you have been given a position of power where you are entrusted with public funds, we are saying in very clear terms go with what the rule of play dictates. We have the Public Finance Act. We also have the financial regulations of 2016. We have the GPPA act even though it has been changed to the new one of 2022 but there are certain laws that guide the usage of public funds.

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“And again, I think it is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that our public finances are put to the best use to avoid wastage and corrupt practices. This is the message that FPAC is sending to everybody. If you are entrusted with public funds, make sure you do the right thing. Otherwise, we will make sure you pay, and I don’t think we would spare anybody,’ Alagie Mbowe told WCR in an exclusive interview.

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