State House of The Gambia Facebook Page published this press release with the headline “President Barrow is Committed to Fighting Corruption” after the President came under pressure for claiming that Audit Reports are just opinions. This was after the President was featured in an exclusive interview with Star TV over the weekend in the local wollof language.
By State House of The Gambia
Following an extended exclusive interview in the Wollof language, the statement by His Excellency the President that Financial Auditors express various types of audit opinions on Financial Statements should not be misinterpreted as him trivialising the important work of Audit and how much auditors, in general, contribute and help shape the accountability mechanisms in the Public Financial Management sphere.
The President was merely describing the accountability mechanism in a democratic dispensation which obviously would require that a rigorous process of investigation will follow the audit process to confirm facts highlighted in audit findings.
The concern that Government is not adequately following up on allegations of financial mismanagement or misconduct is farfetched and far from reality.
The Government, through the relevant institutions, has demonstrated and will continue to uphold the needed political will to investigate transgressions or all cases of suspected misappropriations or frauds highlighted in audit reports.
The commitment to further strengthen accountability and oversight institutions is evidenced in Government efforts to work with the legislature in passing an Anti-Corruption Bill, a revised Public Finance Bill, an SOE Bill and National Audit Amendment Bill.
It is envisaged that the amendments to the National Audit Office Act will strengthen the National Audit Office and enable it to fulfil its mandate as prescribed by the Constitution, as well as strengthen the National Assembly’s control over public finances.
The President has always emphasised that Government institutions investigate material audit findings in accordance with the law. Any accounting officer in charge of a Ministry, Department, Agency or public corporation who is found wanting by an audit report will be held accountable for their actions and will be prosecuted fully for any occurrence of fraud, embezzlement or carelessness.
Also, any person holding a political or public office who directs or concurs in the use of public funds contrary to any law or existing regulations will be held accountable in accordance with the laws of The Gambia.
Therefore, the public is reassured that the executive will continue to welcome work strengthening the mechanism for implementing audit recommendations.