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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

NAMs demand explanation from OP on Banjul roads project

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By Tabora Bojang

The Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly, which presented its report on the audited accounts of the government before the plenary yesterday, has asked the Office of the President and the Ministry of Transport Works and Infrastructure to provide an explanation for accepting to award the Banjul Drainage, Roads and Sewage contract to GAI Enterprise.

The government awarded the contract amounting to $35, 720, 000 to GAI in May 2019. According to the auditor general’s report, the government has failed to gazette the said contract and there were also major omissions such as detailed study and design, work schedule and bill of quantity.

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The auditors found out that the contractor (GAI) had only provided the drawings and design specifications for approval 9 month after work had commenced.

The auditors also revealed that there was no evidence of due diligence conducted to confirm that GAI Enterprise has available financial resources, including performance security to execute the project.

FPAC chairman and member for Brikama North Alagie S Darboe read the report on behalf of the committee. He said the committee’s recommendation is for both OP and the ministry of works to provide an explanation for accepting this form of contract.

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“Similarly, evidence that GAI Enterprise is the most suitable and qualified contractor to carry out this project, including any due diligence performed before the contract was awarded, should be provided to the auditors,” Darboe said, quoting the committee.

The committee also said it has taken note of the audit findings that the State House rehabilitation project was also marred with failures to adhere to GPPA approval and contract agreement as well as inappropriate procurement process by OP.

The committee further said it took note of the audit findings that goods bought from Fatima Trading amounting to D5.6 million were delivered to the Office of the President before the State House requested for a single source approval from GPPA.

“The OP and the ministry of works should provide an explanation for the above anomalies. Also, the OP should follow due process in all procurements to ensure public funds are judiciously spent,” FPAC recommended. 

Missing vehicles

The committee also recommended that the ministry of finance provide details including delivery notes, chassis numbers and locations of two outstanding vehicles procured through UNOPS in seven days.

It said these vehicles were part of a contract agreement between the government and UNOPS for the procurement of 17 Toyota vehicles to support the ministry of interior to execute its internal security mandate.

FPAC noted the auditor’s findings that examination of the vehicle register at the police headquarters garage revealed that only 15 vehicles were delivered and recorded in the register and their brands were different from those specified in the contract agreement. The vehicles presented to the police were instead Nissan pickups and Ford Rangers.

“Out of the two un-presented vehicles, the team (auditors) was able to verify one from the Office of the President while the remaining vehicle under the control of the ministry of finance could not be verified and remained outstanding,” FPAC said quoting the auditor’s report.

In its recommendations, FPAC concluded: “We demanded an explanation with supporting evidence for the procurement of these two outstanding vehicles and their place of allocation. We also request explanation for the procurement of 15 motor vehicle brands that are different from the specification stated in the contract”.

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