Hon Jammeh stated that the public accounts and public enterprises committees of the National Assembly enjoy strong political commitment ahead of all PAC/PEC committees in the sub-region.
He exclusively told The Standard: “I can say that the PAC/PEC in The Gambia has the cooperation of the executive than any other PAC/PEC in the sub-region. We have the political support at the highest level and that is what is lacking at other institutions in other countries where people don’t want themselves to be scrutinised especially their presidents. But for us the president has given his full support.
“In most West African countries when PAC/PEC does its job and make recommendations and send them to the executive, they collect dust- that is where it stops. I am the second vice president of the West African Association of Public Accounts Committee (WAPAC), so I am talking with authority because we encountered problems like that in Liberia [and] Serra Leone. PAC/PEC writes their reports and makes recommendations and that is where they stop.
“Here in The Gambia, I am also lucky to be part of the executive committee set up by the president and each time we write our reports and send them to the president; he sets up a task force which will revisit all the recommendations and concerns made by the PAC/PEC. And we call all the institutions concerned and confirm whether they have implemented the recommendations of the PAC/PEC. And if any institution is found wanting, you are prosecuted.”
Hon Jammeh, who spoke on the sidelines of a five-day capacity building programme for lawmakers, also dismissed criticism that some PAC/PEC members lack good subject knowledge of the issues that come to the House for scrutiny.
He maintained: “The PAC/PEC members are very much acquainted with the scrutinising job they do. Some people hold the view that the parliamentarians are those who can’t find a job and then they got into politics but that view does not hold water. We have qualified people in accounting and in other disciplines- so the PAC/PEC members are people, who can read, analyse, read between the lines and reach a productive and reasonable conclusion on issues that are brought under our scrutiny.
“We have trainings before and several orientations but this one is making us more aware of our powers- it has allayed our fears of performing some of our duties. We are constitutionally empowered to ask for certain documents and make sure that thy are made available. So the workshop is making us more powerful and effective. This is going to enable the members of PAC/ PEC to know our functions, limitations and our powers. So this workshop will in effect make us more effective in carrying out our job of scrutinising public officials. So it is a reorientation workshop on how we can hold the executive to account. We approved the bill to make way for them to access public funds and at the end of the day, they will have to come to us and tell us how those monies are spent- that is what makes our job critical. So in essence, we are being empowered in holding the government accountable.”]]>