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GAMBIA: COVID-19 FUND OF D7.8 MILLION UNACCOUNTED FOR AT GT BOARD – NATIONAL AUDIT REPORT

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The Gambia National Audit Report has revealed a staggering D7, 821,105.00 difference in the covid-19 funds disbursed to GT Board for onward payment to beneficiaries and the actual payments made to beneficiaries.

The report noted that no explanation was provided to account for the difference, emphasising that payment officers should ensure that monies allocated for specified purposes are only used for the intended purpose.

The government of The Gambia approved Supplementary Appropriation which includes an amount of GMD100 million allocated to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of which D89.9 million was allocated to the tourism sector through The Gambia Tourism Board (GT Board) for onward distribution to the tourism industry.

Dwelling on the unbudgeted payment, the report further revealed that payments of D1,840,000 was made to various associations in the tourism industry and some individuals that were not included in the budget. It continued that support to the tourism industry should not be made to beneficiaries not budgeted for.

On the difference between cash withdrawal and total payments, the report revealed a difference of D502,000 between the amount received to support individuals in the informal sector and the actual amount disbursed to beneficiaries.

“No explanation was provided to account for this difference. Payment officers should ensure that monies allocated for specified purposes are only used for the intended purpose.”

National Audit Office, in its conclusion, states that based on the documentation and information obtained during the audit, adequate and appropriate evidence was not presented by GTBoard to substantiate the payment made to the tourism industry.

“We can therefore conclude that payment made to the tourism industry did not fully comply with the laws and regulations that govern them. This means that some vulnerable businesses did not receive the support to which they were entitled.”

 By: Pa Modou Cham

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