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GAMBIA: ACCORDING TO REPORT, 17 MILLION DALASIS WAS NOT ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE GPA 400 MILLION DALASIS DEBACLE

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The investigation into an alleged financial fraud of over D400 million at the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), has finally ended following a published report from the National Audit Office on 13 September 2023, revealing a staggering D17 million uncounted funds.

In an interview with veteran journalist, Peter Gomez on his Coffee Time Show, MD Jobarteh said the report noted that D17 million has been uncounted for between January 2019 and December 2021.  He added that the report also mentioned that he granted about D21 million as waivers consignees.

He explained: “The discretion to grand waivers is contained in ports dues and rates regulations and this is the provision that the managing director relies on to grant waivers to consignees. Not to avoid being prejudicial about the recommendations that are contained in the report and the line of actions that is going to be recommended by the authorities, let me refrain from making any comments because the granting of waivers is transactional based and one needs to look further into the circumstances that cause the hardship that grant the managing director discretion to authority waivers.”

MD Jobarteh further stated that the granting of waivers in 2019 was an exception, saying the figures are available and they will scrutinize them to make sure the appropriate recommendations are taken with a view to taking action going forward.

Dwelling on the audit report’s recommendations, he explained that the report recommended that the issue be taken up at the level of the board and that the designated officer who is the managing director be made to account for some of the revenues already granted as waivers.

“The incident was reported in February 2022 and by May 2022; we came up with a new system that is IT based to ensure there is an end-to-end transaction system that would generate calculations to determine waivers. These have been working satisfactorily since it was introduced. Although we have challenges and whenever we have energy or connectivity issues, we result in the manual system.”

“We expect that the situation will not reoccur because of the new system we have. The system will self-generate the charges that are due. Then the business processes have been reversed to ensure that by the time the exit is allowed for the container, all the necessary steps would have been taken to ensure that the revenues that are due, are liable to be paid to GPA.”

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