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PAC/PEC adopts Legal Aid agency’s report

Apr 19, 2016, 10:04 AM | Article By: Kaddijatou Jawo

The joint session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprise committees (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly, yesterday adopted the activity report and financial statement of the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA).

In her contribution, the deputy Speaker Hon. Fatou Mbye made some observations on the auditor’s report, saying she was concerned about the simplistic lapses of the Finance unit of NALA.

She said reading through the auditor’s observations, the finance director, in his response, acknowledged most of the observations made by the auditors.

She also said the minutes of the previous board meeting were not signed by the chairperson to indicate that they were adopted, details of petty cash were not recorded in the cashbook, fuel coupons not submitted for verification, and that this make her wonder whether “these simplistic lapses” were the cause of inefficiencies or carelessness.

According to her, whatever happened the finance unit would need to know better, and should not wait for the auditors to know what to do because “these lapses are really simplistic in nature”.

She also said a statement was made that women needed to be informed of the gender-related Act during sensitization activities conducted by NALA.

“I believe that since the gender-related Act serves men and women, both sexes should be sensitised since gender is the social constructs between men and women,” said deputy Speaker Mbye.

She added that in most cases women are victims, but women could also be perpetrators, which could also be said of men.

Responding to the deputy Speaker’s questions, NALA Board Chairperson Hon. Justice A. Bah, said when they saw the report and the comments by the auditor, they were surprised by some “very simple lapses that could have been avoided.”

“The current board takes this issue very seriously, and we are trying to put our house in order. We intend to capacitate the accounts unit with the number of staff so that such simple lapses do not reoccur.”

On the issue of minutes, she said, the report had not been very clear to show the particular minutes, and the number of minutes they are talking about.

“When we went through our records we realised that only one extraordinary meeting was held, in January of 2014, and that apparently might have been held without the requisite notice.”

Apart from that particular meeting, there was no other meeting held, she said, adding that in her time she had signed one and the secretary to the board also had a copy that was signed.