By Omar Bah
The National Audit Office’s report on the 2019 government financial statements, has revealed D22,319,958 of proceeds from the sale of Jammeh’s assets was “unaccounted for” by the government.
According to the report, the General Triplicate Receipt book used for receipting monies for the sale of government assets reported by the Janneh Commission was not provided for inspection claiming that the book was missing after the sale of assets.
“The proceeds of these receipts amounting to D22,319,958 were collected from the sale of government assets reported by the Janneh Commission. The audit noted that receipts were not used to collect payments; instead, only written acknowledgements of receipt of payments were made. There is an increased risk of lack of transparency and accountability resulting in loss of revenue due to the government,” the report pointed out.
Flouting financial regulations
The auditors noted that virements amounting D67,960,645 were made between and across budget entities without evidence to suggest that they were approved by the minister of finance before transfers were made, contrary to the provisions of the Financial Regulations 2016.
The auditors also noted virements totalling D2,469,441,458 were made between and across budget entities without evidence of a formal notification sent by the finance minsitry to the budget agency/entities before or after virements are made contrary to the Financial Regulations.
The report added that a review of the financial statements against the cashbook report revealed a difference of D55,090,347 between the tax receipts disclosed in the statement of revenue and payments under note (3a-3f) of the financial statements, and the tax revenue receipted in the cashbook for the period under review and as a result the requirement of IPAS 1.3.12 was not met.
“There is risk that the revenue balance in the financial statements is misstated,” the report added.
According to the report, the borrowing balance amounting to D1,806,865,640 was understated in the statement of financial position which could lead to the misstatement of the borrowing balance disclosed in the financial statements.
“We noted an overpayment of USD4,871, equivalent to D244,228 in respect of interest payments. Government is at a risk of losing huge amounts of money due to overpayment of loan interests,” it added.
The report further revealed that the government failed to disclose The Gambia’s shares in the African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and Ecowas Bank for Investment and Development which dated as far back as 2016.
As a result of its membership in these banks, the report added, the government pays subscription fees and is allowed to access loans and other membership privileges.
“We requested for the share certificates to establish the number of shares subscribed in these banks including the amount paid as subscription fees as well as ascertain the outstanding balances, but none was provided. As a result, we could not confirm the number of shares the government has bought as well as the unpaid balances disclosed in the financial statements,” the report added.