PRESS RELEASE: MANDATE OF THE NAO AS THE SUPREME AUDIT INSTITUTION (SAI) OF THE GAMBIA
Banjul, The Gambia: June 1, 2022
The National Audit Office of The Gambia (NAO) as the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of the country, derives its mandate from the Constitution of The Gambia. The NAO was established under Section 159(1) of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia as the SAI to assist the Auditor General (AG) in the performance of the functions conferred on him or her by the Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly. By this, the AG has the responsibility to audit the accounts of all Government Institutions, Local Government Authorities and other public bodies, including government projects and programs. The functions of the AG and NAO are described in detail in Section 160 of the 1997 Constitution.
The NAO was granted autonomous status by the National Assembly through the National Audit Office Act 2015. As a result, our work in carrying out audit on government institutions is geared towards fulfilling our constitutional mandate and helping government to identify gaps in the application of the guiding and stipulated policies, guidelines and regulations as well as putting forth recommendations meant to improve the processes taken to transact with the use of public resources.
As an Independent Public Audit Institution, we are also guided by recognized international standards by which we carry out our different audits. This means that the planning phase up to the final reporting stage of the audit process are all guided by relevant standards. In this regard, content of our audit reports are always supported and backed by sufficient and appropriate audit evidence.
We are aware of the limited understanding amongst our stakeholders about an audit exercise; and by this press release, we reiterate that as the public audit institution of this country, our main objective is to report on facts found on ground during an audit exercise, discuss findings during exit meetings with those charged with governance of the audited entity. Where issues remained unresolved during the audit and up to when management responses are received, we reflect those pending issues in the final audit report.
Thus, by virtue of our mandate, we are empowered by the Constitution and NAO Act to hold government to account in the use of public resources. As the government is the representative of the people, we deemed it prudent to include strategic priorities in our Strategic Development Plan (SDP 2020-2024), which aims at greater stakeholder engagements as well as producing better quality, clearer and more timely audit reports. NAO holds stakeholder engagement events and publishes simplified versions of audit reports because our mandate is to serve the people of The Gambia. That is why improving the public’s understanding of our work is a core priority of our SDP.
We have so far recorded numerous positive feedback since we publicly disseminated and launched the simplified audit report of the 2016 Government of the Gambia’s financial statement. We have also published the simplified report of 2017 and currently finalizing 2018. In the same context, other audit report types (e.g. performance audit and special audits) will also be summarized as needed.
We assure all our stakeholders that the NAO is here to support government and government institutions and bodies to be prudent in the utilization of public resources. By this, we aim to add value in the operations of government by ensuring that the laid-down policies, procedures and regulations are duly followed in all circumstances. We therefore hope that our audit reports will be received with more consideration and appreciation by all stakeholders and the findings perused with a more objective and open mind.
To maintain our relevance and having greater impact from our audits, we implore on all stakeholders to build interest, access, discuss and engage on the various audit reports. The value and benefit of any Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) is to make a difference in the life of the citizens in the country in which it operates. We hope that beyond the audit findings, our numerous audit recommendations will also be implemented for better service delivery.
NAO has an open door policy for anyone who wishes to seek clarification or share feedback relating to its work. We continue to solicit and count on the support of all our stakeholders as we work towards greater accountability and transparency in the use of public funds.
Karamba Touray – Auditor General