By Yankuba Jallow
The presentation of the activity and financial reports of the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI) was yesterday halted following their failure to produce their financial reports for the years 2013/14.
When the matter arose before the National Assembly Committee on Tourism for the Institute to present their reports, the lawmakers were told by the officials from the Institute that the activity report is completed but for the financial report, the National Audit Office has not provided them with it.
Dawda Nyan, the Director of GTHI told the members of the Select Committee that the auditors (National Audit Office) have not provided them with the audited financial report.
Officials from the audit office disputed the fact stating that there is some information they requested from the Institute to provide them but the Institute hasn’t provided them yet.
“We requested from them information about the grant the Institute received from the Spanish government in the years 2013 and 14 but they have not yet provided us with the information,” the auditors submitted.
Sulayman Corr, the Bursar for the Institute told the Select Committee that the Institute has received the sum of two (2) million euros as a grant from the Spanish government to refurbish the Tourism and Hospitality School.
“All we got from our parent ministry is what we provided the auditors,” he presented.
Professor Pierre Gomez from the Board of the Institute dilated on the challenges they are still encountering to get access to the information relating to the grant.
“We went through the files and we noticed that there were some projects that were ongoing. At that time, the Hotel School was managed at the [tourism] Ministry level. We inherited this and we are not in a position to provide you with all the information about this grant because it was managed at the Ministry level,” he submitted.
On their reactions, Momodou Camara, the member for Foni Bintang told officials from GTHI that it is their responsibility to provide the National Audit Office with all information three (3) months before the end of a financial year to enable them to audit their reports. He pointed out that the Institute for so many years has failed to provide the auditors with the necessary information to enable them to do their job. Other National Assembly Members made similar comments.
On his part, Professor Gomez told the lawmakers that they are more than committed to providing the National Assembly with the reports. He stated that the issue was inherited from the Ministry.
“After a series of the request, we were told that the Institution was under the Office of the President and Ministry of Tourism,” he said.
He put forward that the Institute, especially at the Board level, is ever ready to provide any information that the National Assembly requests which is under their purview.
Sittings continue on Monday, 8 October at 2pm.