By Aji Fatou Faal
The Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly on Monday finally considered and adopted the Central Bank of the Gambia’s 2016 Annual Activity Report and Financial Statement.
Delivering the compliance review, Momodou K. Jallow, Operation and Policy Assistant of Gambia Public and Procurement Authority said during their observation, the CBG has put in place a functional specialized procurement unit but some of the procurement transaction was done by non-members of the SPU, with particular reference to fuel and air tickets which violates Section 50 of the Act.
He said it could make procurements individualized for personal gains since there is lack of proper supervision on the side of the SPU, accountability and transparency are not assured, causes of wrong procedure which can lead to wrong award decisions and disobedience to statutory provisions.
While responding to the queries, Bakary Jammeh, governor and chairman of the CBG noted that the said transactions were mainly medical and travel, adding that the bank has a contractual framework of agreement with the service providers for medical services rendered to staff.
According to him, it is indeed a fact that Protocol Unit of the Bank handles travel arrangements which purchase of air tickets is part of, but this practice is mainly to expedite the work process, e.g. visa applications in most countries goes with confirmation of travel itinerary and the Protocol Officer handling this has to get an itinerary . “For this process to be endorsed, a minimum of three quotations is always solicited. However, the travel issue for the year under review was conducted by the former President’s office, which issued travel clearance and give directives as to where tickets were purchased. The bank takes note of the recommendation of GPPA and will ensure full compliance on this matter in future”, he noted.
Momodou K. Jallow revealed that after examination of all records presented for review, the reviewers had an exit meeting with Central Bank of the Gambia and the Procurement officer as regards their finding and recommended as follows: the need to fill all GPPA reporting forms highlighted above in each transaction such as 003, 040, 041, and 201, was highlighted; GPPA Form 100 was not properly administered and is filled after procurement transaction; and GPPA Form 101 is filled after collecting quotations, which is wrong practice.
“In the same vein, we also recommended to CBG to enter into frame agreement with suppliers for items that are frequently needed by the company in order to address emergency situation as highlighted in the Instruction Part IV which states that ‘framework transactions are contractual arrangements that can provide an efficient, cost effective and flexible means to procure goods or services that the procuring organization needs continuously or repeatedly over a period of time.
Spare parts of routine equipment maintenance, office supplies such as stationery and pens, and medical supplies such as bandages are common examples of the types of goods that might be purchased under framework transaction. On-call routine maintenance services, like plumbing and electrical repairs, illustrate the type of service need that may be procured efficiently under framework transactions”, he stated.
The FPAC was not satisfied with some of the responses given by the governor but was asked to make some improvement in their next complaint review and address their lapses before finally adopting their report.