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GAMBIA: MINISTRY OF HEALTH, NDMA, GPU & OTHERS GIVEN 10 DAYS TO ACCOUNT FOR ALL COVID-19 FUNDS

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Yesterday, the National Assembly passed a resolution mandating that all unaccounted-for Covid-19 funds issued to the Gambia Press Union, the National Disaster Management Agency NDMA, the Gambia Tourism Board, the Ministry of Health, and the Gambia embassies in four countries be accounted for within 10 days, or the responsible parties will be subject to a police investigation and possible prosecution.

The report of the Auditor General on the government’s Covid-19 expenditures revealed significant management irregularities. The report was submitted to the Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly, which conducted its own investigation and consulted with all relevant parties prior to reporting back to the plenary on Monday.

Yesterday, committee chairman Alagie S. Darboe presented a 10-point resolution to the plenary session and stated, “This resolution is just the tip of the iceberg.” The National Assembly is now serious, and we trust that these institutions will work with us to implement this resolution. The resolution will also be sent to the president, and we anticipate his support.”

The resolution stipulates, among other things, that the Grant Management Committee and the GPU must return to the Accountant General the sum of D585,159.86 representing ‘unused funds’ for the Covid-19 relief support to media houses by no later than September 25, 2023, failing which the Inspector General of Police must immediately launch an investigation.

NDMA

NAMs also resolved that the executive director of the NDMA, Sanna Dahaba, must account for all undelivered food items worth over D100 million to the Accountant General and the FPAC by September 25, 2023, failing which the police will promptly initiate an investigation.

The NDMA executive director is also ordered to account for the shortage of delivery of oil by the international commodity insurance worth D37, 653,700 and this money should be deposited to the Treasury on or before 25 September 2023, and notify the Accountant General, Auditor General and the FPAC failure of which the police will launch an immediate investigation.

The FSQA will be summons by the committee if the NDMA chief does not provide the certificate of forfeiture of the damaged food items by the Food Safety and Quality Authority to the Auditor General and FPAC by or before September 25, 2023.

“In the event that Executive Director [Dahaba] fails to deliver the items/amount specified above, the President must consider placing him on administrative leave pending the outcome of the police investigation,” the resolution continued.

Department of Health

The resolution stipulates that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health must produce the missing payment voucher for the payment of D1.6 million to the Auditor General and FPAC by September 25, 2023, failing which the IGP will promptly initiate an investigation.

The Health PS must also recover D1,165,548,00, pay it to the Accountant General, and notify the Auditor General and the FPAC by no later than September 25, 2023; otherwise, the IGP will immediately initiate an investigation. These funds are allegedly overpayments to covid-19 frontline employees.

The NAMs further resolved that the PS must provide the Auditor General and FPAC with all relevant evidence regarding the request for quotations from independent vendors by September 25, 2023, or the IGP will promptly initiate an investigation.

There are Gambian embassies in China, Spain, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Lawmakers also resolved that the Gambian embassy in Beijing, Madrid, Addis Ababa and Abu Dhabi must return all unpaid covid-19 money meant for Gambian students amounting to D1,380,186,08, to the Accountant General and notify the FPAC by the end of next month failure of which the Accountant General must deduct the said sums from their monthly cash allocation from November and December 2023.

The GT Board

The resolution stipulates that the director general of the Gambia Tourism Board (GTB) must account for D202,000.00, representing the difference between money received from the government and money paid to individuals in the informal sector, by 25 September 2023 or the IGP will immediately launch an investigation.

The legislators concurred that all resolution-related police investigations should not exceed 90 days. Legislators unanimously approved the resolution.

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