By Tabora Bojang
The National Assembly yesterday adopted a resolution which ordered that all unaccounted Covid-19 funds issued to the Gambia Press Union, the National Disaster Management Agency NDMA, Gambia Tourism Board, Ministry of Health and the Gambia embassies in four countries be accounted for in 10 days or persons responsible face possible police investigation and prosecution.
The Auditor General’s report on government’s Covid-19 expenditure highlighted serious irregularities in the management of the funds. The report was submitted to the Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly which conducted its findings and engaged all stakeholders concerned before reporting back to the plenary on Monday.
Presenting a 10-point resolution before the plenary session yesterday, committee chairman Alagie S Darboe said: “This resolution is just a tip of the iceberg. The National Assembly now means business and we hope these institutions concerned will be cooperative in implementing this resolution. The resolution will also be sent to the president and we hope he will support us in this.”
The resolution states among others that the Grant Management Committee and the GPU must return to the Accountant General the sum of D585,159.86 being the ‘unused funds’ for the Covid-19 relief support to media houses on or before September 25, 2023, failure of which Inspector General of Police must launch an investigation immediately.
NAMs also resolved that the executive director of the NDMA Sanna Dahaba account for all undelivered food items worth over D100 million, on or before 25 September, 2023 to the Accountant General and notify the FPAC, failure of which the police shall launch an investigation immediately.
The NDMA executive director is also ordered to account for the shortage of delivery of oil by the international commodity insurance worth D37, 653,700 and this money should be deposited to the Treasury on or before 25 September 2023, and notify the Accountant General, Auditor General and the FPAC failure of which the police will launch an immediate investigation.
Additionally, the NDMA boss is also ordered to provide to the Auditor General and FPAC the certificate of confiscation of the damaged food items by the Food Safety and Quality Authority on or before 25 September 2023, failure of which the FSQA will be summoned by the committee.
“Whereas Executive Director [Dahaba] fails to deliver the items/sum mentioned above, upon expiry of the deadline, the President must consider sending him on administrative leave pending the outcome of the police investigation,” the resolution added.
Ministry of Health
The resolution further states that the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health shall produce the missing payment voucher in respect to the payment of D1.6 million to the Auditor General and FPAC on or before September 25 2023, failure of which the IGP will launch an investigation immediately.
The Health PS must also recover D1,165,548,00 and pay it to the Accountant General and notify the Auditor General and the FPAC on or before 25 September 2023, failure of which the IGP shall launch an immediate investigation. These are monies said to be overpayment of covid-19 frontline workers.
They NAMs further resolved that the PS must provide to the Auditor General and FPAC all material evidence relating to request of quotations from the independent bidders on or before September 25,2023, failure of which the IGP will launch an investigation immediately.
Gambian embassies in China, Spain, Ethiopia and UAE
Lawmakers also resolved that the Gambian embassy in Beijing, Madrid, Addis Ababa and Abu Dhabi must return all unpaid covid-19 money meant for Gambian students amounting to D1,380,186,08, to the Accountant General and notify the FPAC by the end of next month failure of which the Accountant General must deduct the said sums from their monthly cash allocation from November and December 2023.
The resolution ordered that the director general of the Gambia Tourism Board (GTB) must account for the D202,000. 00 being the difference of money received from the government for payment to individuals in the informal sector, on or before 25 September 2023, failure of which the IGP will launch an investigation immediately.
The lawmakers agreed that the police investigations over all the resolutions should not go beyond 90 days. The resolution was unanimously agreed by lawmakers.