The Gambia’s legislature has asked the country’s health ministry to track payments of Covid-19 allowances effected without the signatures of the said beneficiaries. Permanent secretary at the health ministry Muhammadou Lamin Jaiteh earlier this week told the National Assembly’s Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) sitting that it was difficult to “reconcile…because of the frequent movement of staff”.
However, the Chairman of FPAC, Alhagie S. Darboe, asked the health ministry PS to endeavour harder to convince FPAC on Covid allowance payments that his ministry claimed to have made. “Payment without signature of payees… that has to be followed by PS and reported to the chair, “Darboe asserted.
Earlier on, PS Jaiteh stated that the health ministry has noted the concerns of the committee, regarding signatures. He also informed the committee that his ministry was yet to respond to auditors’ findings about “improper” recording of medical items. “We have not provided any management response,” PS Jaiteh concurred when asked by chairman Darboe as to whether the ministry had responded to a parliamentary query about the issue.
He continued:” The management response is there but I don’t know why. “He agreed with FPAC chair that health ministry was yet to provide any clarity about auditors’ findings of discrepancies between stock and physical balance but said this was regarded by the ministry as an operational issue.
On auditors report about procurement at the health ministry without prior approval, PS Jaiteh said the ministry was yet to respond to a query about it.
At this juncture NAM for Bundungka Kunda,Ismaila Jammeh, pointed out that FPAC was in a race against time and wondered when the ministry would respond to the many parliamentary queries about auditors’ adverse findings against it.
“It’s here that we should tell them what’s expected of them,” Banjul South NAM, Fatoumatta Njai, stated.
“Our committee will write and validate the report. We have now given them enough time. So, we are waiting to write our report, validate it and make recommendations,” Darboe said in response to NAMs Jammeh and Njie.