The accountability question

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The government audited financial statement for 2012-2013 tabled on Tuesday before lawmakers at the National Assembly by the Auditor General has revealed a lot about the accuracy or inaccuracy of the country’s domestic debt data, and lack of proper auditing of payment vouchers and other documents of the Central Bank of The Gambia in 2012 and 2013.

This has caused the Auditor General to reiterate the call or demand on the relevant authority to allow for proper auditing of such vouchers and documents at the Central Bank, henceforth.

Although the report of the Auditor General covered both the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of The Gambia, the latter, however, has a huge stake in the debt information and payment voucher challenges raised at the PAC/PEC session on Tuesday.

“There is a risk that domestic debt information by the Central Bank is not accurate and complete leading to misstatement of the financial statement,” the Auditor General said.

“We recommend that all domestic debt information is captured by the Ministry of Finance, and the documentation remained outstanding up to the time of finalising the report.”

Section 158 of the Financial Instructions was also quoted as stating that: “The originals of payment vouchers and supporting document will be filed in numerical order by month and year by the Treasury Directorate, to be available for audit and other inspection purposes.”

Talking also about payment vouchers and other documents such as credit and memos, the Auditor General said these vouchers and documents amounting to D175,466,433.64 for the year ended 2012 and payment vouchers amounting to D444,208,111.44 for the year ended 2013 were “not presented for audit”.

“We recommend that all payment vouchers are filed in numerical order by month and year as required by the Financial Instructions,” he said.

It is always essential that we are accountable for what we do, especially at the public domain where national resources are entrusted to public trustees.

In this case of the country’s debt information and payment voucher auditing, we couldn’t really determine what went wrong, or really pinpoint at anyone for the huge fiscal debt leap beyond the GDP ceiling in 2012 and 2013.

However, accurate national financial information and regular auditing must be respected and seen to be done, to always give a clear picture and fair outlook of our economy, as well as help the nation to plan its economic path well.

 “It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do for which we are accountable.”

John Baptiste Moliere