By Awa B. Bah

The PEC of the National Assembly on Wednesday 7 November 2018 referred GiEPA management and staff to their board and external auditors so as to put their house in order.

The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GiEPA) appeared before the Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) to report on their activities and financial statements for the year ended 31st December 2015 and 2016 respectively. But at the Wednesday sittings, only three members of the GiEPA appeared which according to the PEC guidelines was inappropriate as the agency’s board and auditors were missing.

Explaining to PEC why the governing authority and their external auditors are absent, the newly appointed CEO of GiEPA Assan Jallow said he is newly appointed in office for the past three weeks, that he contacted the board chair Yankuba Dibba who is currently busy with the Constitutional Review Commission’s tour in the provinces. As for the external auditors, the corporate service director of GiEPA said that they have sent two statements of account to their external auditors Real-Time Consulting but they were not reachable due to circumstances beyond their control.

Halifa Sallah PEC chairperson put it to them that the board is the governing authority of GiEPA and that it is important for them to appear. This he said shows the contractual relationship between the national assembly committee and all existing public enterprises in the Gambia.

Sallah refereed them to section 179 of the Constitution which defines public enterprises as anybody corporate or institution formed and controlled by the government. This section he said emphasizes that within six months of the coming into force of this Constitution, an Act of the National Assembly shall establish a committee for the operation of public enterprises and shall prescribe the manner in which such enterprises shall be accountable to the National Assembly in order to promote transparency and good practices.

On sub-section (5) of this section, he said the Constitution states that all public enterprises within three months of  the end of its financial year shall submit an annual financial report to the PEC on its business and operations during the preceding year. Sallah said that it is very clear that because of the back log, when PEC committee was established, negotiations were entered into with PEC, an agreement universally reached that all public enterprises should sit by march and June 2018 to submit their 2015/16 and before the end of 2018 for their 2017 activity and financial report in order to put an end to the back log and start afresh in 2019.

At this juncture, the PEC stood down the sittings for twenty minutes to decide on the appearing status of GiEPA and their request to reschedule the meeting for another day to call on their external auditors and the board to appear.

The management on their position showed appreciation to the PEC for their understanding and also for granting their request. They however promised to work within the remaining hours of 7 November 2018 to bring in the board and their external auditors.

When the meeting was recalled for decision, Sallah said that the PEC has decided on their request and reminded them of their responsibilities. He caused the present management to prepare the board and their external auditors to put their house in order. The PEC then ruled that GiEPA reappear before PEC today 8th November 2018 at 14:00 PM.

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