The Permanent Secretary 2 at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Lamin Camara, on Monday presented the Accountant General’s report on the recommendations by the Joint Session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprise Committees of the National Assembly on the audited accounts of the Government of The Gambia for the year ended 2011.
The un-presented payment vouchers and audit report on the audit of the Government’s Financial Statements for 2011, he said showed that 162 payment vouchers were not presented for examination.
PS Camara informed the joint committees that out of the 162 documents (D6, 129,930.24) that the auditors listed as un-presented, 117 documents (D5, 902,026.47) were subsequently located and are available at the Accounting Unit of the Accountant General’s Department for inspection by the auditors.
“Our investigation and observations revealed that many of these documents were previously presented to the auditors, and were marked (with green pen) as seen. Electronic copies of all payment vouchers and other documents, as raised and approved by the ministries and departments, are also available on the IFMIS,” he added.
Regarding the issue of payment vouchers without supporting documents, which reported that 58 payments totaling D2,073,017.07 were made without supporting documents attached to the payment vouchers to substantiate payment, Camara said: “During our investigations we inspected 47 (D1,456,288.07) out of 58 payment vouchers (D2,073,017.07) that the auditors said has no supporting documents at all. And all of these have supporting documents to substantiate the payments. Efforts are being made to retrieve the remaining supporting documents.”
He further told the committee that the highlighted vouchers relate to project payments/disbursements that are normally initiated by letters of instruction to authorise the processing of the payments.
About the query on the breach of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) Regulation /payment vouchers with single quotation audit, which noted that payment vouchers amounting to D910,165.00 were supported with only one invoice as opposed to the three quotations required by the GPPA, PS Camara responded that of the nine highlighted payment vouchers, amounting to D878,195.00, relate to payments in respect to Food and Food Services for The Gambia National Army and The Gambia Prison Services. “These were tendered and contracted to suppliers, thereby not requiring the usual three quotations. Evidence of the contract awards was provided to the auditors. The provision of three quotations for payments relating to maintenance of motor vehicles, for the remaining payment voucher, has been paint, a challenge as diagnosing faults do also attract service charges. However, sectors are now fully complying with the provision of three quotations for maintenance of motor vehicles.”
Regarding the non-provision of GRA tax arrears, Camara updated the committee that a follow-up was made with GRA who have provided the most recent list of tax arrears and its available for inspection.
Misclassification of expenses, as reported by the Auditor General showed that 84 payment vouchers amounting to D5,592,230.00 were charged to wrong votes. Camara updated the oversight body that after further review of the list of the 84 payment vouchers claimed to be charged to wrong budget line, only 12 payment vouchers amounting to D297,965.00 may have been misclassified or charged to the wrong budget line.
Meanwhile, the officials of the Ministry of Finance are expected to return to the National Assembly tomorrow (Wednesday) for questioning on the report for any possible adoption.
by Alieu Ceesay