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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Auditors reveal 55 accounts with wrong closing balances

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By Omar Bah

The National Audit Office report on the government financial statement of 2018 has revealed fifty-eight accounts with wrong closing balances totalling D131,907,000.00 in the statement of deposit (Note 20) of the financial statement which the report said indicated that the balance on the statement of deposit is misstated.

The report added that balances were identified in the following accounts as at the end of the financial year: Bypass account – D1,549,611,000.00, Imprest clearance account – D2,943,457.08, receivable clearance account -D1,240,331,369.67, Transfer account -D4,773,539,000.00, cash allocation accounts – D11,171,000.00.

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“As a result, the cash and equivalent and receivable balance in the financial statement is misstated. There were un-reconciled items amounting to D311,677,864.98 brought forward from 2014. These items are persistently recurring from the prior audit and no evidence of corrections are provided. Failure to correct un-reconciled items for more than one accounting period renders the entire reconciliation process fruitless. There is no point in performing reconciliation if errors and omission are not corrected and adjusted on time,” the report noted.

Meanwhile, the auditors have also advised in their report for the Ministry of Finance to cease all payments to car supplier TK Motors pending comprehensive reconciliation between the supplier and the Ministry.

According to the National Audit Office report on the 2018 government financial statement, reconciliation of invoices against payment voucher 15PV000138 dated 01-March-2018 revealed that arrears amounting to D21, 293,000.00 were paid to TK Motors on two duplicate invoices.

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“During the audit, we noted that payments amounting to D47,524,850.00 were made in respect of purchase of motor vehicles from TK Motors Limited. However, discussion with officials at the Accountant General revealed that there was no evidence of reconciliation performed between the government and the supplier to establish the amount owed to the supplier. Instead, reliance is placed on supplier invoice(s) to make payment. This is a subject of our previous management letter, but the issue remained outstanding.”

The auditors said there is a risk that payments are made on doubtful invoices leading to loss of funds to the Government.

“This is indicative that non reconciliation performed between Ministry of Finance & Economic Affairs and the supplier that could lead to significant waste of government resources. This is indicative of inadequate review and supervision of work done by junior staff,” the report said.

The recommended for the government to provide plausible explanation regarding the authenticity of the invoices in question and results furnished to the them for verification.

“In future, invoices should be properly reviewed before payments are made in order to avoid recurrence. All payments to TK Motors must seize pending comprehensive reconciliation between the supplier and the Ministry of Finance,” the auditors added.

However, responding to queries, the government said: “None of the invoices paid above was duplicated. Even though the same invoice number was quoted for all the vehicles supplied, each of the invoices was specifically for different vehicles mutually. This can be confirmed through the separate delivery notes which have specified the different chassis numbers. The supplier quoted the same reference for the different invoices. The vehicles are verifiable through the vehicle control Unit at the Office of the president.”

According to the auditors, they were able to verify all the eleven vehicles shown above except one. “The Mitsubishi L200 Double Cabin Pickup JNKL30HH006465.”

The report added: “A review of payments of arrears made to TK Motors revealed that a balance of payment amounting to D8,914,350.00 in respect of final payment for eleven vehicles supplied to Office of the President on payment voucher number 15PV000136 and dated 27 February

2018. However, we noted that the contract worth D23,675,354.00 was signed on 18 December 2017 after the said vehicles were delivered to the Office of the President.”

According to the report, 3 Pajero vehicles were delivered to Hon. Justice Edrisa F Mbai, Basiru VP Mahoney, & Amina Saho Ceesay, 2 vehicles to Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, President Lead Escort, Hon. Badara Alieu Joof, & one for State Guests, 1 GLS Pajero for Hon. Dawda D Fadera, & Nissan Pathfinder for Mrs Halimatou Tambedou-Jawara, Nissan Path Finder for Mrs Naffie Barry, Nissan Patron & Pajero GL for Mr Alagie O Ceesay & Mr Muhammed Lamin Jaiteh

respectively.

“There is a risk that the procurement process was not adhered to, thus a serious breach

of the GPPA act and the Regulation. This is indicative of internal control weakness and if not addressed could lead to significant fraud and other irregularities. We recommend that the GPPA Act and Regulation should be adhere to at all,” the report said.

Responding to the queries, the government said: “The concern is noted and management will endeavour to adhere to GPPA Act and regulations.”

But according to the auditors, the issue remained outstanding up to the time of finalising the management letter.

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