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Sunday, October 1, 2023

NAO clarifies D22M ‘unaccounted for’ from sale of Jammeh’s assets

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By Omar Bah

The National Audit Office has said the D22,319,958 collected from the sale of government assets reported by the Janneh Commission as unaccounted for was wrongly classified.

The D22,319,958 of proceeds from the sale of Jammeh’s assets was reported as “unaccounted for” by the National Audit Office’s in its summarised and simplified report on the 2019 government financial statements, reproduced by The Standard.

Following the publication, Justice Minister Dawda Jallow told lawmakers that The Standard’s story is “misleading” and rhetorically questioned where we got that information.

In our editorial reply, we told the minister we got it from the published audit report and that we would go back to the authors of the report to clarify the matter which we did.

Speaking on the matter, NAO communication specialist, Binta Touray, clarified that the finding of the said D22 million related to lack of providing documentation as reported in the main report of the 2019 GoTG audit. She added that the said finding was placed under a wrong heading in the simplified and summarised report which mentioned several other findings under a main heading “Unaccounted Revenue” but under a sub-heading of “failure to provide documentation”. “Thus, the misinterpretation,” she added.

She further stated that the NAO is rectifying this oversight on the summarised report and will put it back on the website.

“But if you look at the main report, the finding is classified accurately, so this is an oversight on our part and also a learning opportunity for us to improve on our simplified reports formats in order to realise the desired results of greater public understanding and interpretation of our reports,” she added. She said the rectification on the simplified report does not in anyway affect the content of the main report which is accurate.

“The simplified report is an initiative taken by the office as part of its SDP 2020-2024 to make reports simple and summarise the reported findings for greater stakeholder interaction as most audit reports are bulky in nature,” she noted.

She added that the NAO has also realised some capacity gaps in the media when it comes to reporting on audit reports and the office planned to provide the needed training and strengthen its collaboration.

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