Auditor General says Govt. defrauded of over D6 million

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Auditor General of the Gambia has told parliament that the Government of the Gambia was defrauded of D6, 721, 738 through un-authorised withdrawals from Treasury Main Bank Account and unaccounted revenue.

Bubacarr Sankareh made this revelation yesterday while presenting the report of the Auditor General on the Financial Statements of The Gambia for the year ended 31st December 2007 to the members of the Public Accounts/Enterprises Committees of the National Assembly at the National Assembly Complex in Banjul.

He told deputies that at the inception of the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS) in January 2007, the old Treasury Main Account was supposed to be closed with the cash balances transferred to the new Treasury Main Account.

“However, more than two years had passed and the old account was not closed. This contributed to the Government being defrauded of over D4 million,” the Auditor General told parliamentarians.

The fraud on the Treasury Main Account involved the use of cheques from the Treasury Main Account for personal gain.

According to him, while the cheques were drawn on the account in 2007, they were dated 2006.

He revealed that although four individuals have been convicted for their roles in the crimes, there is a suspect who was implicated as their insider accomplice within the treasury against whom no action has been taken.

“He was undergoing medical treatment at the time the other individuals were being prosecuted, and this was given as a justification to suspend action against him at the time,” Sankareh said, adding that no further action has been taken against the suspect since the incident.

Commenting on the nature of fraud in Kerewan (D2, 136, 328) and Janjangbureh (D520, 936) Sub Treasuries which relates to the unaccounted revenue, the Auditor General said no criminal proceedings have been undertaken in either case at the respective Governors’ office.

Sankareh noted that the trend towards such significant fraud is alarming, and it is critical that the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs puts in robust control measures to prevent and detect fraud.

“It is also important to ensure that justice is seen to be done in every case of suspected fraud, if others are to be deterred,” he stated.

Further presenting before members of the PAC/PEC committees the management letter of the Auditor General Audit of the Financial Statements of the Gambia for the year ended 31st December 2007, Sankareh revealed some findings relating to un-presented payment vouchers amounting to D3, 190, 388.11.

Financial Instruction 158, he added, states that” the originals of payment vouchers and supporting documents will be filed in numerical order by month and year by the Treasury Directorate, to be available for audit and other inspection purposes.”

“From a sample of payment vouchers selected for testing, twenty payment vouchers amounting D5, 519, 256.51 were not presented. Subsequently ten payment vouchers were presented and reviewed leaving ten payment vouchers outstanding and un-presented,” he said, adding that the value of the outstanding vouchers stood at D3, 190, 388.11.

Sittings of the PAC/PEC committees continues today.

Author: Lamin B. Darboe