The National Audit Office (NAO) has issued a statement commending the National Assembly’s recent resolution on its Audit Reports covering 2016 to 2019. The National Assembly issued its resolution on 29th September 2022 calling for all imprest to be retired by 31st October 2022 and for a list of all people that have been found to commit fraudulent activities as well as an update on prosecutions and repayments of all persons found wanting. The NAO’s statement and the National Assembly’s Resolution have been reproduced below.
Banjul, The Gambia (October 7, 2022)
The Auditor General of the National Audit Office (NAO) commends the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) and by extension, the National Assembly (NA) for the Resolution passed during its Third Ordinary Session on pertinent audit findings from reviewed audit reports covering the periods 2016 to 2019.
We anticipate that this will contribute to greater accountability in the use and management of public resources by those entrusted with this responsibility. For many years, stakeholders continue to ask about the relevance of the work of the NAO as there continues to be little or no action to address the audit findings, especially on the misuse of public resources.
To reinforce the important role of the NAO, stakeholders are reminded that the ultimate goal in public sector auditing is to make a difference in the lives of citizens of the country. This is stipulated in one of the principles of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAIP121) ‘Value and Benefits of Supreme Audit Institutions’. This principle underpins that the auditing of government and public sector entities by Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) has a positive impact on trust in society because it focuses the minds of the custodians of public resources on how well they use those resources. Such awareness supports desirable values and underpins accountability mechanisms, which in turn leads to improved decisions. Once SAIs’ audit results have been made public, citizens are able to hold the custodians of public resources accountable. In this way, SAIs promote the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration.
Thus, on this recent legislative decision of the NA, I encourage all stakeholders to join the drive for greater accountability, transparency and effective use of public resources – an audit exercise is not a witch hunt nor is it meant to tarnish the image of an individual or institution; rather, it is meant to help institutions improve processes and procedures in line with laid-down laws, regulations and standards. Finally, I and my team of dedicated staff reaffirm our commitment to our work; to conduct and produce easy-to-understand and quality audit reports for public consumption.
RESOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
WHEREAS the National Assembly considered the recommendations of the Consolidated Report of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) for the period 2016-2019 on the government and its various agencies’ audited accounts;
RECOGNISING the good work of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the immediately preceding legislature – the fifth legislature and the Auditor General;
APPLAUDING the Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the current legislature – the sixth legislature, in carrying over unfinished business of the previous committee;
COGNIZANT of the provisions of the 1997 Constitution of the Gambia, Public Finance Act 2014 and the Financial Regulations of 2016;
NOW THEREFORE RESOLVED:
1. That all outstanding imprests be retired by October 31st 2022;
2. That all unreconciled government transactions indicated in the audited accounts be reconciled by the Accountant General before the end the financial year, 2022 and a report sent to the FPAC;
3. That the government, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, endeavours to table before the Assembly a revised Public Finance Bill and a revision of the Financial Regulations 2016 before the end of the financial year, 2022;
4. That the Auditor General consider invoking his power under section 160(5) of the Constitution where discrepancies of a criminal or fraudulent nature are discovered during an audit;
5. That the Auditor General consider including its report to the National Assembly all cases of criminal or fraudulent nature reported to the Inspector General of Police;
6. That the Auditor General and the Accountant General provide to the National Assembly a list of all people that have been found to commit fraudulent activities in all sectors and give the latest update on their prosecution or repayments;
7. That the Accountant General resolve all prior year closing balances and current year opening balances of the Government with respect to Loans and Grants be consolidated before the end of this financial year;
8. That the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs must be part of any grant negotiations and be the recipient of all grants for and on behalf of Government;
9. That all government projects shall use the IFMIS system for all the accounting processes by the end of this final year, 2022;
10. That any existing revenue collections by third parties shall be handed over to the Accountant General within ninety days;
11. That the Auditor General consider initiating special audit of all State-Owned Enterprises in line with section 160(8) of the Constitution by the end of the financial year, 2022.
Dated this 29th day of September 2022.