Saturday, April 4, 2020

PEC Accepts NEA Extension Request For The Second Time

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By Momodou Jarju

The Public Enterprise Committee of the National Assembly has on Wednesday accepted the extension request of the National Environment Agency (NEA) for two months from March 2020.

This is the second time PEC will be giving the agency time to work on their activity reports and financial statements from 2015 to 2019 in a bid to end the backlog.

By April 2020, the environment agency is expected to submit its activity reports and audited financial statements for the year 2015 to 2018 to the select committee.

And by 31 August, 2020, the agency is expected to submit the 2019 activity report and audited financial statement for presentation and possible adoption and consideration.

Dodou Trawally, Executive Director of NEA, said they have not submitted the report for 2017 and 2018 and that the 2015 and 2016 reports were earlier submitted to PEC, but they were referred to the office of the auditor general for “good reason.”

“We are supposed to resubmit them to the {Committee},” he said.

Trawally said he has been contacting the office of the auditor general and they are updated about the two reports, while promising to submit them to PEC when they are ready.

He further said for the 2017 report, they sent a letter to the Committee to give them two months extension to be able to submit it.

He remarked: “The audit of the 2017 financial statement is still ongoing. We have expected it to be done a week before the due date but it wasn’t. And then the 2018 financial statement still needed some adjustments and it is not submitted to the auditors.”

ED Trawally said the current board and management took office in July 2019 and they would be reporting a period that they were not in office.

He however said they are not shifting blame to their predecessors because it is their responsibility to have the reports prepared and submitted to the Committee.

Trawally noted that they should not just report because they are asked to report, but they should present reports which are up to standard.

“We realized that the last time we submitted an acceptable activity report was 2014,” he said.

He therefore asked the committee for the second time to extend their submission date for another two months.

“We are very hopeful that within these two months, we would be able to… the audit for 2018 would have been completed because I can report here that the financial statement was finalized yesterday. And we work to have it submitted to the auditors by the end of this week or latest Monday,” he said.

He also said works are in progress on updating the 2014 report to have the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 reports.

In response to the issues raised by the managing director, the chairperson of the committee Halifa Sallah, said they did receive the request letter dated 5th March, 2020.

But he said it is important for them to record the procedures and that is why the people summon should appear before the committee and explain their concerns and not sending letters. Nonetheless, he said they do take notice of letters but they have to follow the procedure.

Sallah said it is within his powers to inform the committee for people who were in charge during the period under review to come forth and do the report on presentations.

“It is within your powers to cause the committee to summon those who constituted the management or board during the {period under review},” he said.

An official from the external auditors Augusto Prom Junior clarified that they are working towards the deadline of the 2017 financial statements.

He said for 2018, the management completed the accounts on Tuesday inviting them to start the auditing of the account.

“We are coming to start the 2018 audit while we finalize the 2017 audit,” said the official from the external auditing firm.

The board and management assured the committee that they would be working in tandem on the 2019 activity report and financial statement, which should not exceed the deadline of putting an end to the backlog by 31 August, 2020.

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