ACTIVISTS HAIL EX-AUDITOR TOURAY’S AWARD

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Urge successor to keep momentum

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By Omar Bah

Following his award as the Gambian of the Year by The Standard last week, retired auditor general Karamba Touray continues to receive praises and appreciation from Gambians of reputable standings who welcome his recognition as a well-deserving one. 

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They also called on his successor to keep the good work and reputation of the National Audit Office by publishing reports with transparency and diligence.

Prominent human rights and pro-democracy advocate, Madi Jobarteh said he thinks Mr Touray truly deserves the award. ”Karamba has actually upheld the constitutional mandate of his office and delivered quite efficiently, diligently and professionally. I strongly believe that the reports he had generated of the use of public funds and performance of public institutions demonstrated excellent performance and exceptional public service on his part. I had said that if there was any public official Gambians should look up to and protect was Karamba Touray,” Jobarteh said.

He also dropped a word of advice to Mr Touray’s successor, the new auditor general: “I hope and pray that his successor will not only maintain the high quality of work and standards set by him (Karamba) but will even seek to surpass them. Anything less will be inexcusable. At the end of the day, the National Audit Office can be equated with a sanitizer that is there to ensure that public institutions and officials manage public resources and service delivery with excellence and probity.”

Marr Nyang, a leading voice in the fight against corruption in the country and head of Gambia Participates, said Karamba Touray has been exceptional in transforming the National Audit Office and the relationship of the office with the media and civil society and also brought about a massive improvement under his leadership. “I think this award is a well-deserved one,” Nyang said.

The Gambia Participates, he added, enjoyed working with AG Touray in producing the first ever simplified audit reports.

“I hope the new AG will work and improve on the standard already put in place under the leadership of AG Touray and work towards making government account audit reports be produced and made available on time,” he added.

A leading Gambian investigative journalist, Mustapha Darboe said the retired Auditor General has done an amazing job in making sure that the audits are published and enough publicity is made of them. “I have relied on a lot of audit work and I couldn’t imagine how difficult my work would have been if it were not for the work of the auditors. They help us to choose some very good leads to investigate.”

“I had my fears when the change of leadership happened but the new Auditor General is not new to audit and I hope he would continue to be transparent as Karamba and to continue to publish audit reports because we are informed that there are so many audits that have been done and they should be published,” the journalist said.

Mr Darboe said the Gambia Government has been allegedly involved in putting a lot of pressure on the National Audit Office in making sure that they don’t publish their audits.

“That is a public record and we have heard ministers hold press conferences to push back at audit reports. The minister of health did it and the government spokesperson and the whole cabinet called a press conference to do the same thing. So, there is a deliberate effort from the central government to suppress the publication of audits and I hope the new Auditor General doesn’t fall for that because he must understand that he is working for the Gambian people who want to know where their money goes,” Darboe concluded.