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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Speaker: PEC/PAC not out for a witch hunt

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In his statement while presenting the 2013 PAC/PEC draft report, Speaker Bojang said: “The aim of the exercise therefore is not to witch-hunt any particular institution. Rather it is meant to ensure transparency, probity and openness in all our public institutions, to hold the head of those institutions accountable for their actions and also to ensure that our public corporations and agencies deliver the desired services to the general public in an effective and efficient manner.”

During the course of the PEC/PAC sessions, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and public enterprises and agencies were summoned to appear before the committee. Subsequently, 46 reports were considered and adopted, nine deferred, two deferred with reservations and five deferred to an extraordinary session this month.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs came under scathing criticism from members of the committee for their persistent non-compliance with the Gambia Public Procurement Authority Act and rules.

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“PAC/PEC notes with dissatisfaction the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs’ persistent non- compliance to the Public Procurement Act and GPPA rules and regulations. Therefore, the joint session expresses its total disappointment at the perennial non-compliance level of the Ministry of Finance. As the custodian of the national treasury, it is supposed to ensure discipline in the financial sector and should be the first to comply, if they are to be in a position to enforce the law,” the report stated.

The report also noted “the widespread non-compliance attitude of most departments and agencies to the Public Procurement Act and regulations” and said it “defeats the purpose for which the GPPA was established in the first place”.

Meanwhile, the report also raised concern about the auditor general’s lack of access to information noting that “the constitutional right of the auditor general to access relevant information for audit is continuously denied or hindered, either by design or default during the course of the audit exercise.’

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The report, which chronicles the audited accounts of the central government for the year 2008, 2009, and 2010 as well as the annual reports and financial statements of public enterprises and agencies ending 31 December 2012, urged the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs to ensure that the auditor general is given unfettered access to all relevant financial documents to facilitate the audit process.


By Sainey Marenah


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