By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia’s National Audit Office (NAO) has published their “Audit Report on Government COVID-19 Response – Procurement and Distribution of Food and Medical Items” implicating the Ministry of Health, the National Security Adviser and the Deputy Inspector General of Police over some D5.7 million worth of fuel which remains unaccounted.
According to the report “evidence of receipts and issuance of fuel procured were not presented” for D5,745,597 worth of fuel supplied by Gambia National Petroleum Company Ltd (GNPC) and Petro Gas Co. Ltd. Ultimately this meant that the fuel to be “distributed to the Joint Security Team could not be traced to fuel stock records” read the report.
This news of more missing or unaccounted fuel comes just days after the Government Spokesperson published a statement alleging that over $20 Million worth of fuel had gone missing in a fraud scandal worth over a Billion Gambian Dalasis.
Section 9.4.2 of the Audit report focuses on the “lack of access to information on the supplied and distribution Covid 19 fuel”.
This section of the report detail that a “review of the Detailed Transaction Listing (DTL) revealed that the Ministry of Health procured fuel amounting to GMD5,745,596.76 in response to COVID-19″. However, “access to information was not provided to [Auditors] to establish the accuracy and completeness of the quantity of fuel supplied and received at the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) as well as the onwards distributions to various security teams”.
Below is a breakdown of the over D5.7 Million of fuel supplied by Gam Petroleum and Petro Gas.
It can be seen that GNPC has supplied over D5.14 million worth of fuel while Petro Gas Co Ltd supplied only D600k worth of fuel. This means that almost 90% of the unaccounted fuel was supplied by GNPC while Petro Gas Co Ltd supplied only 10% of the unaccounted fuel.
Due to the lack of receipts and debit advices, Auditors “could not ascertain the accuracy of the amount of fuel claimed to have been given to the police from the COVID-19 fund”. Auditors also noted that they could not “assess the controls over the usage of the fuel received”.
In that regard, the NAO has recommended for management to “provide documentary evidence on the amount of fuel provided to the police from the COVID-19 fund and how the fuel [was] distributed among and used by the various units across the country”.
According to a response from the Ministry of Health, it appears that the Police Intervention Unit via the National Security Adviser and the Deputy Inspector General of Police was in charge of managing fuel to the Security.
In an attempt to shift the blame from the Ministry of Health the Management’s response highlighted that “the fuel procured by the Ministry of Health (MoH) was done in accordance with the budget approved by the Multi-stakeholder Committee on Procurement and Finance for the operations of security in support of COVID-19 response activities. However, as part of the coordination arrangement agreed among the various security apparatuses, the office of the National Security Adviser and the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) were responsible of the management of the fuel which MoH procured at the GNPC”.
The Ministry of Health even hinted that “Audit may wish to interview the National Security Adviser and or DIGP”. It remains to be seen if the NAO will proceed to question the aforementioned Security Officers for the missing fuel supplied to the Joint Security Team received at the Police Intervention Unit.