President Adama Barrow

The National Audit Office has revealed that the Barrow government lost millions of dalasis of public money due to corruption. 

The Audit office’s 2018 report showed that  substantial amount of public funds were unaccounted for by various government departments and agencies. 

They included Gambia Immigration Department, Brikama health centre, Department of Forestry, Parks and Wildlife, Gambia’s embassies in Guinea Bissau and France among others. 

The report said: “There were misappropriations of government funds from previous financial years resulting in losses of public monies totalling D17,097,387.60 that were not fully recovered as at 31 December 2018. 

“Details are shown below: Gambia Immigration department (Seaport): visa fee amounting to D 1,302,000 was received by the cashier but only D700,000 was paid to the government leaving a balance of D602,000.

“Brikama Health Centre: unaccounted revenue collections of D402,674.00. Brikama sub-treasury: unaccounted revenue collections of D6,592,172.50. Kerewan sub-treasury; unaccounted cash of D2,136,327.61.

“Janjanbureh sub-treasury: unaccounted cash of D521,000.00. 

“Directorate of National Treasury: un-authorised withdrawal of public funds from the Old TMA of D4,064,363.15.

“Department of Forestry, Parks and Wildlife: un-authorised transactions in a Project Account of D839,500.00. 

“Mission in Guinea Bissau: cash withdrawals not accounted for by the Finance attaché of D390,000.32. 

“Mission in Paris: There was a reported fraud by the Finance attaché at the mission in Paris on 14 February 2014 of amount €27,500 (Equivalent to GMD 1,593,50.00),” the report said.

The report added that: “From our testing of a sample of payments made by the Government in 2018, we found a total amount of D77,200,284 that could not be confirmed as the payment vouchers were not presented for audit.

Payment supporting documentation 

The auditors said they found 15 payments without adequate supporting documents. 

“We also found that payments totalling D85,000,000 were made without adequate supporting documents and further expenditure of D306,877 incurred on travel expenses had no documentation. 

“Receipts for non-tax revenue amounting D10,794,500 were not supported with deposit slips.”

They also found 16 cases were officials failed to present minutes of loans negotiations. 

“The minutes for the Loan negotiation from the Islamic Development Bank with a loan amount of Islamic Dinars (ID) 1,800,000.00 and European Investment Bank with a loan amount of €57,000,000.00 were not presented during the audit. 

“Missing documentation casts doubts on the internal controls and can lead to fraud and mismanagement of funds,” the auditors said. 

According to the report, the audit requested records of grants disbursed during the year from the Ministry of Finance on several occasions but these records remained outstanding. 

“We identified impress of D15,286,063.90 that were not retired and remained outstanding as at 31 December 2018. This included a cash payment of D180,000.00 that could not be supported with documentation.

“There were unconfirmed balances of D5,389,778,820 in respect of the Statement of Net-Worth of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

“These balances could not be established as the audited financial statements of these SoEs were not presented during the audit,” the auditors said.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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