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Audit report reveals D10M suspected fraud not disclosed

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By Omar Bah

The National Audit Office’s report on the financial dealings of the Gambia government for 2019 presented to the parliamentary committee on finance FPAC last week, highlighted the government’s failure to disclose suspected fraud amounting to D10, 401,000.00.

According to the report, the alleged fraud involved an officer at the Intellectual Property office who issued fake receipts for monies paid by trademark applicants and not delivered to the main cashier. The auditors said discussions with officials revealed that investigations have since begun on the suspected fraudulent transactions, but no evidence has been provided to confirm this assertion.

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“We noted through a police report referenced GPF/114/OPS (246) and dated 26 March 2019, confirming fraudulent receipts amounting to D10, 401,000.00 that could not be traced in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS). It was not also disclosed in the statement of losses of public monies in the financial statement,” the report added.

According to the Auditor General, there is “a risk that the amounts disclosed under losses of public money were misstated. This is indicative of inadequate supervision of work done by junior staff”.

The NAO recommended for the Accountant General to disclose all losses of public money in the financial statement and provide an update on the status of investigation into this suspected fraudulent activity.

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Management response

Responding to the auditor’s queries, the Accountant General Department said they will review and disclose the matter in the revised financial statement.

However, according to the NAO, the suspected fraud amounting to D10, 401,000.00 was not disclosed in the revised financial statements.

Unretired imprests

According to the auditors, imprest totalling D37,230,064.44 were not retired up to the time of finalising the report and further review of the IFMIS also revealed that imprest amounting to D48, 147,986.00 were not retired in the system which indicates risk of misappropriation and inadequate internal control over imprests retirements.

Reacting to the finding on the D37M, the Accountant General’s Department said all the relevant supporting documents detailing the retirements are available for inspection but the auditors added that out of the forty-eight unretired imprests amounting to D37, 230,064.44, only twenty-seven were retired leaving twenty-one imprests totalling D4, 673,054 unretired whiles the D48, 147,986.00 remained outstanding up to the time of finalising the report.

“The Accountant General should ensure that immediate actions are taken to recover the unretired imprests from the responsible officers and details furnished to the audit team for inspection,” the auditors added.

The Accountant General Department insisted that the retirement supporting documents for the said imprests were submitted and retired in the IFMIS.

However, the auditors maintained that there is “no evidence of retirement provided in the system and therefore this matter remains unresolved up to the time of finalising the management letter”.

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