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Audit reveals GPA spent D1.9 million to buy mobile phones for management

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By Tabora Bojang

The 2020 audit report on the Gambia Ports Authority has revealed “serious procurement issues,” among them a purchase of mobile phones for management amounting to D1.9 million.

The chairman of the Public Enterprises Committee, Lamin J Sanneh, made this disclosure in his committee’s report on the activities and audited financial statements of SOEs for 2019 and 2020 presented before the plenary at the National Assembly Thursday.

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The parliamentary committee noted that the procurement method was not justified as part of Gambia Public Procurement Authority rules and the argument that it was conducted under urgency does not justify violation of the procurement guidelines.

Continuing, the PEC chairman said the auditors also noted differences in the amount confirmed by the supplier and the amount recorded in the general ledger for “the payable.”

“The Committee also noted the difference between the payable balance and the confirmed balance and asked that it be investigated and reconciled by the management. The management is also warned to ensure GPPA procurement guidelines are strictly adhered to and also desist from using donation vault as incentive to the staff,” Chairman Sanneh said.

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On revenue matters, Sanneh reported that during the auditors’ review of the GPA revenue ledger, it was noted that a debit of D5 million was granted to customers in form of discounts but there was no evidence provided to verify the names of the customers.

He disclosed there was also a debit transaction in the Authority’s revenue ledger amounting to D129 million relating to a waiver granted on various cargo handling charges.

The committee recommended that waivers granted to customers should be appropriately and completely accounted for in compliance with general accounting principles.

Ferries

Reporting on the committee’s observations on the audited accounts of the Ferry Services, Chairman Sanneh added that upon the auditors’ review of the various cost centres against the company’s revenue, it was observed that 55 percent of the total revenue goes to human resources.

“The committee noted that this ‘high employment’ cost is on the high side and that the ferry’s management should strategise and ensure personnel cost is managed at accepted level,” he said.

Inconsistencies in headcounts

According to the parliamentary committee, the auditors, relying on a headcount exercise conducted by the Ferries internal audit, noted inconsistencies in the signatures of staff with “same signatures used within departments representing different personnel.”

The lawmakers therefore recommended that management conduct another headcount to make sure that the personnel are present and working for the company as per the payroll.

D17 million bonus

For the period under review [2020] the auditors noted an amount of D17.5 million was paid to the employees of the company as bonus.

Chairman Sanneh further disclosed that upon the auditors’ discussion with the management, they requested for the bonus policy to review the eligibility and company’s target for a bonus payment procedure and allocation for employees but it was confirmed that the bonus policy is not maintained.

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