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Saturday, May 21, 2022

NAO launches Covid-19 audit report today

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By Omar Bah

The National Audit Office (NAO) will today launch its special audit report on the Government of The Gambia’s Covid-19 response Phase 1 (procurement and distribution of food and medical items) at Metzy hotel.

As mandated by the Constitution, the NAO carried out a special audit following the outbreak of Covid-19 with the objective of tracking and reporting on government’s response and measures to the pandemic as well as recommend ways by which the government can strengthen its response to emergency situations.

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The consolidated report of this special audit and its simplified version have been published on the NAO website.

The summarised report has highlighted a series of irregularities and mismanagement of public resources by government institutions. According to the audit findings, in many cases, the institutions responsible for the different sectors of the Covid-19 response failed to provide accurate, valid and verified documents to auditors while other times no documents were provided at all.

This, according to auditors, include “poor internal control measures, underreporting of quantities purchased, poor record keeping of public expenditure, and risk of fraud because there is no document trail for us to verify the information provided to us.”

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“Keeping and tracking all documents of procurement and spending of public money is essential for responsible reporting. In the pandemic where emergency expenditure is unavoidable, governments must maintain good and transparent record keeping systems to ensure public expenditure reporting is easy and accurate. This recommendation is also encouraged for non-emergency response situations,” NAO said.

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