ASSEMBLY GIVES ONE MONTH DEADLINE FOR PAYMENT OF ALL UNRETIRED IMPRESTS

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By Tabora Bojang

National Assembly Members have passed a resolution which among other things ordered that all outstanding imprests issued to ministries, departments, agencies and individuals totalling over D30 million be retired by October 31st 2022.

Presenting the report of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly on Monday covering 2019 to 2021, committee vice chairman and member for Upper Saloum Alhagie Mbowe revealed that FPAC had audience with the Accountant General on the status of the repayment of outstanding imprests issued to ministries, departments and agencies and he informed them that the sum of D31.7 million was confirmed as outstanding imprest, out of which only D2.5 million was recovered.

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Mbowe said the Accountant General however clarified that his office had written to all the sectors affected with the names of persons the imprest was issued to but unfortunately, they discovered that the majority of the officers involved have left the service and some of them could not be located.

Many legislators considered this excuse inappropriate during their debate and called on the parliament to come up with a stringent recovery plan to ensure the monies are retired.

The 11-point resolution tabled by the member for Upper Saloum, which preceded yesterday’s adjournment debate ending the current sessions, seeks to bring improvements in efficiency and integrity of public finance management.

The resolution states that all imprest be retired by October 31st 2022.

The member for Jeshwang Sheriff Sarr begged for an extension considering the long process that may be involved in reaching out to some of the affected persons.

“Some are not around and some are not seen and this resolution is enforceable,” Sarr submitted. 

In response, the mover of the resolution Alhagie Mbow said the October 31st deadline is appropriate and will provide good time for the defaulters to effect repayments.

“Some of them have not retired since 2007. So, you already have 15 to 16 years and you have not retired. Why would we give you another six years to retire [the money]? For me I think that [October 31st deadline] should be okay,” Mbowe said.

But for his part, Central Baddibu NAM Sulayman Saho proposed that the Assembly include in the resolution that the IGP should take the necessary steps afterwards.