Monday, March 30, 2020

PEC Adjourns Engagement With The Gambia Standards Bureau

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By Momodou Jarju

The Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) has on Thursday adjourned its engagement with The Gambia Standards Bureau because the institution has failed to present the financial statements for the year 2015, 2016, and 2017 for review and possible consideration.

The enterprise committee is one of the institutions that has backlog in terms of submission of financial statements before it.

Habib Jeng, the board chairman of the enterprise said they have all the activity reports but they don’t have the financial statements for the periods under review. He said the financial statements were sent to the national audit office and they are yet to receive them.

“We have taken frantic efforts to make sure that these things are realised but then without much success,” he said.

Mr. Jeng said they have submitted the financial statements for 2015, 2016, and 2017 to the auditors for auditing.

Halifa Sallah, the chairperson of the committee, said the activity report cannot be separated from the financial statement of the enterprise because they are linked.

“The financial statement simply reflects all the activities made by the institution as per its mandate. In that regard, the issue is how we negotiate to ensure that we put an end to these backlogs,” he said.

He asked whether the enterprise could provide a work plan to ensure there is compliance in the submission of their financial statements.

The board chairman Jeng requested the committee to guide them on how they should go about the matter, saying he is not a constitutionalist. He said they have tried and negotiated with the auditor general on several occasions to no avail.

“It’s becoming really frustrating for me. I’m a businessman and I need my time to get my work growing but this is taking all my time. And I am really frustrated with the issue of trying to get this audit done,” he said.

Hon. Sallah said auditing is not about perfection but it’s simply reflecting the true state of affairs of an institution. He said they want to know where the problem lies, whether auditing has taken place or no auditing has taken place etc.

The auditors were given the floor to make comments out of their discretion and they decided not to comment. At this juncture, officials of the standards bureau and journalists were asked to allow the committee members to sit in camera and discuss and decide on the matter.

Upon resumption, the chair of the committee Hon. Sallah, said they have observed that there are some gaps in terms of conclusiveness of the audit reports to make it possible to submit the financial statement for the periods under review to the national assembly.

“In that respect, we will propose adjournment with the members concurring we fix an appropriate date to invite the auditor general and board and management for a final review of this- let’s call it an impasse, in the process of submitting activity reports and financial statements so that we put it behind us,” Hon. Sallah said.

The session was then adjourned to a later date to invite all parties to discuss how they can attain conclusiveness on the matter at hand.

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