By Omar Bah
A report from the National Audit Office has revealed that millions of dalasis were expended by the government in its Covid-19 response (procurement and distribution of food items) without following due process.
According to the report, total payments amounting to D63,775,000 were made for which the authorities could not produce GPPA approvals or payment vouchers.
The report revealed that six contracts amounting to D74,332,500 were awarded to companies which were not included in the GPPA approved list, and that some of the approved contracts were beyond the GPPA ceiling, which meant they should have been approved by authority before being awarded. These include D11,750,000 to Fouta Enterprise; D3,657,500 to Microtech Consulting; D31,050,000 to Basuks Enterprise; D12,500,000 to Kaira Catering Services; D12,250,000 to Fatima Sabally Trading; and D3,125,000 to EM Kay Stores Limited.
Also, according to the report, contracts above GPPA threshold of D1 million were awarded to the following companies without GPPA approval: Zahra Limited – D11,925,000; BMS Consult Plus – D12, 500,000; Asta – D3,630,000; Rahma Gambia Limited – D14, 150,000; Zeine Enterprise – D20,500,000; Maa Foundation For Women -D33,000,000; LB Gaye & Sons Co Ltd – D13,000,000; and BMS Consult Plus – D7,000,000.
The auditors said five contracts amounting to D47,994,740 were inappropriately executed by the committee as transactions took place before contracts were awarded.
They include: Rahma Gambia Limited – D1,650,000; Zeine Enterprise – D20,500,000; General Transport Union – D11,692,900; AGS Gambia Limited – D1,651,840; and BMS Consult Plus D12,500,000.
Contracts awarded before GPPA approvals
The auditors also highlighted that these contracts were awarded before approval was granted by GPPA: Zahra Limited -D11,925,000; BMS Consult Plus – D12,500,000; Jagana Brothers – D4,223,839; General Transport Union – D11,692,900; Jalma Trading Enterprise – D13,020,000; Shea Trading Enterprise – D12,900,000; Fouta Enterprise – D74,250,000; Zeine Enterprise – D260,000; Global Industries Finance & Asset Management Company – D12,300,000; Suwareh & Brothers Enterprise – D13,250,000; and In-Depth Business Solutions Company Ltd – D12,500,000.
Unregistered GPPA suppliers
The auditors also noted that payments amounting to D98,300,000 were made to suppliers they could not ascertain are registered with GPPA as no evidence of business registration certificates from GPPA were provided for their review. These include Global Industries Finance & Asset Management D12,300,000; and Fouta Enterprise D86,000,000.
Award of contract to ineligible suppliers
The auditors also noted that some suppliers registered with GPPA to supply services and construction only, were contracted to supply food items and one registered for goods only, was contracted to transport food items.
They include MAA Farmers Foundation, Ndanbung & Sons Construction & General Merchandise, Kaira Catering Services, Fouta Enterprise, and Jagana Brothers.
Unpresented contract documents
The auditors noted the authorities could not provide evidence of contractual agreement for contracts amounting to D63,775,000 awarded to EM Kay Stores Limited, Technomate Construction & Engineering Procurement Enterprise, Fatima Sabally Trading, Kaira Catering Services, LB Gaye & Sons Co Ltd, and BMS Consult Plus.
Unfair treatment of lower bidders
The auditors said the following companies bid lower prices but were denied the contracts: Grand Essentials Enterprise D1,150 (rice); Fatima Sabally Trading D1,225 (rice); Camara Trading Enterprise D1,150 (rice); Camara Trading Enterprise D1,330 (sugar); Shea Trading D1,150 (rice); Jalma Trading D1,202 (rice); Jalma Trading Oil (20L) D1,102 (rice); Dicko Enterprise D1,196 (rice); Yusupha Jawara & Sons D1,420 (sugar); Technomate Enterprise D1,420 (sugar); Global Industries Finance & Asset Management Company D1,400 (sugar); Jagana Brothers D1,200 (rice); Shyben A Madi D1,180 (sugar); and Shyben A Madi D1,120 (rice) .