By Omar Bah
The Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, Nuha Touray, has explained that only D35.8 million was expended by the Barrow administration from the controversial “Special Security” account operated by the Office of the President.
A National Audit Office summarised audit report on the government’s 2017 financial statements revealed that the government made withdrawals amounting to D669 million without approval from the Accountant General. The report said the money was withdrawn from “Special Security” accounts, which were closed on its [NAO] recommendations but were reopened with the same account name but with a different account number.
But reacting to the controversy in a GRTS exclusive, SG Touray said: “The amount in question comes from two separate accounts they call the “Special Security” account at the Office of the President. One of the accounts was opened during the Jammeh era in 2012 and when it was opened monies were paid into the account and it was being used.”
SG Touray said the new administration decided to close the account because “perhaps they didn’t want to deal with the past. They wanted to turn a fresh leaf and be responsible for their own action and their own expenditure. Perhaps that is why the account was closed and perhaps that is a good reason to any reasonable person.”
“When the account was closed, the balance in the account which was D1.4 million was transferred into a newly opened account, also a security account but the numbers are different. So this D1.4 million was used as an opening balance for the new account. So out of the D669 million, only D35.8 million was spent by the current government. The rest was spent by the previous administration,” he said.
Meanwhile, yesterday political activist and blogger Kemeseng Sanneh Kexx stumbled on what he said is the full report of the auditors which he said corroborated claims that the bulk of the monies from the account were spent under Jammeh. But he said the account was reopened under Barrow in similar circumstances (without due process). Mr Sanneh also reproduced details of withdrawals which suggested that the monies withdrawn from the account under Barrow could have been per diems and travel allowances for government officials among others.