The Joint Session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises (PAC/PEC) Committee of the National Assembly Monday deferred the adoption of the National Youth Council (NYC) annual activity report and audited financial statement for the year ended 31st December 2010 and 2011 reports respectively, until further notice.
The reports were deferred following the discovery of misappropriation of funds in the NYC report amounting to D238, 000.00.
The review of the financial statement for the year 2010 revealed that there was an amount indicated in the financial statement as loss of funds amounting to D163, 000. 00 while in the ledger it was indicated as refund to UNICEF. An additional amount of D75, 000.000 supposedly paid to UNICEF was also discovered bringing the total funds misappropriated to D238, 000.00.
The Auditor's report stated that they held discussions with the executive secretary concerning the said amount and they noted that the said D163, 000. 00 was embezzled by the former Finance Assistant of NYC, Sulayman Njie, who admitted the act, according to an unreferenced letter dated 24th, November 2010, addressed to the Executive Secretary after he had been confronted by management. The Finance Assistant was subsequently suspended by management pending investigation as stated in the letter ref: NYC/HQ/304/1//11 (10-MM) dated 30 November 2010.
"We noted that UNICEF gave NYC D630, 977.00 through a letter referenced BTR/1050740/00000002543 dated 8 July instructing Standard Chartered Bank Gambia Ltd to credit NYC's Guaranty Trust Bank A/C No: 10-1810010-10. The D630, 977.00 was provided to NYC to support the establishment of network of school councillors to promote CRC/Child participation," the report indicated.
The report further indicated a letter from the Ministry of Youths and Sport addressed to the Executive Secretary informing NYC stated that since the Finance Assistant accepted guilt and responsibility, he should be urged to provide payment plan acceptable to NYC and in the event he did not comply with terms and conditions for the refund, then he should be reported to the police for necessary action.
The report also stated that further examination of transactions relating to the D630, 977.00 provided by UNICEF revealed that an additional amount of D75, 000.00 was also borrowed from the National Enterprises Development Initiative (NEDI) meant to facilitate a further refund to UNICEF.
Samba JB Tambura, the assistant compliance officer at the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), said the NYC has been non-compliant with its 12-related variables. He said NYC did not establish a contrast committee which is a violation of Section 48(1) of the GPPA Act. He also told the Committee that NYC did not establish a specialised procurement unit, never submitted an annual procurement plan, completion and submission of monthly reports, filling of requisite GPPA forms, observation of GPPA thresholds, use of proper procurement methods, solicitation documentation, awarding contracts to deserving and registered suppliers, minutes of procurement proceedings, establishment of a proper filing system and codification of all procurement among others.
He explained that using the scoring system for measuring the compliance levels of procuring organisations, the team of reviewers found that the NYC is 15% complaint, which denotes non-compliance with the GPPA Act 2001 and Regulations 2003. "As cited above, the contracts were awarded to suppliers not duly registered with GPPA, proper procurement methods not followed, thresholds not adhered to, annual procurement plans never submitted to the GPPA, monthly reports never completed and submitted to the Authority, contracts not fairly awarded, no SPU established, requisite GPPA forms not used and there exists no proper filing and codification system in place," he noted.
He then urged the management of NYC to ensure compliance with the Act and Regulations of the Authority since they claimed to have no idea about the GPPA Act and the Regulations.
Tambura said that the review team recommended the following to be undertaken by the NYC such as: Establishment of specialised procurement unit and formulation of contracts committee; submission of annual procurement plan to GPPA by the 15th of January each year; regular and timely completion/ submission of monthly reports on status of procurement using GPPA Form 006 and Form 200; use the GPPA requisite form for all procurement transactions; put in place the GPPA recommended codification system; establish the GPPA recommended filing system; award contracts to suppliers who are deserving and duly registered with GPPA; observe the GPPA thresholds to ensure proper procurement method; generate minutes for all procurement proceedings and make them available to GPPA for review; train staff of the procurement unit on professional courses related to public procurement and arrange for in-house training from GPPA.
The PAC/PEC expressed disappointment with NYC reports of misappropriation of funds, payment of vouchers without appropriate supporting documents, payment vouchers without required three quotations etc., and subsequently deferred the adoption of their reports until further notice.