By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Auditor General of the Gambia, Modou Ceesay, said the government of the Gambia did not fairly present its financial position for the year 2019.
The Auditor General said because of the significance of the matters identified based on his opinion, the financial statements of the Government of The Gambia did not present fairly its financial performance for the year 2019 by the Public Finance Act and Cash Basis International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
Mr. Ceesay said the inability of the Accountant General’s Department to provide supporting documentation, information, and explanation on a timely basis was the most significant obstacle to his audit of the 2019 financial statements.
Mr. Ceesay said the audit began in November 2020, but could not be completed until November 2021.
The Auditor General said his ability to secure evidence in support of all audit assertions, particularly the completeness, accuracy, and regularity of transactions included in the Financial Statements, was impeded.
Mr. Ceesay said he noted a difference between the general ledger and cash equivalent totaling D4,968,902,000 and as a result, the total cash balances in the financial statements were misstated.
“Two identifying differences of D 3,462,118.29 between the translated Cashbook balance and the General Ledger balance for the Special project US dollar (USD) account. This was a result of not using the official USD exchange rate as of 31st December 2019. There is a risk that the special project USD cash balance disclosed in Note 15 Cash and cash equivalent were understated in the financial statement. As a result of the misstatements in the general ledger and cashbook,” he said.
The Auditor General said there were unreconciled items and re-performing bank reconciliation amounting to D6,501,536,055.64 during his review and the items include carryovers from previous years that remained in the books and no evidence of corrections was provided to him.
“Failure to correct unreconciled items for more than one accounting period renders the entire reconciliation process fruitless. There is no point in performing reconciliation if errors and omissions are not corrected and adjusted on time,” He said.
The Auditor General noted the BTL project 192222 code used for receipting funds was also used to raise payments, leading up to an understatement of D62,622,598.47 on total receipts reported in the cash receipts and payments disclosed in the financial statements.
“I identified cash differences between BTL receipts disclosed in the consolidated statement of cash receipt and payments. The total BTL funds receipted in the general statement ledger, as a result, the financial statement is misstated,” he said.
The Auditor General said he noted a difference of D6,139,871,000.00 between the cash receipts balance and payment, positing that there is a risk that the total cash balances reported and recognized as assets in the statement of financial position were materially misstated.
“I noted an understatement of D3, 013,513,494.71 in respect of debt balances disclosed in the statement of the public debt of the financial statements of the amount recorded in the debt management system. Therefore, the statement of public debt disclosed in the financial statements is misstated,” he said.
The Auditor General said the statement of outstanding commitments includes amounts relating to incomplete transactions such as pending government orders placed with suppliers, outstanding imprest, and unpaid payment vouchers and claims. The commitments he contended were supposed to be cleared by the end of the year.
“Nevertheless, I noted an outstanding commitment of D351, 693,000.00 in respect of Ministries, Agencies, and Embassies not cleared at the end of the year,” he stressed.
According to the auditor General, he identified a discrepancy amounting to D21, 789, 455.06 between actual collections from domestic, customs, and excise tax as per the cash book report and General Ledger.
Mr. Ceesay said he re-performed calculations of tax revenue returns and noted a wrong computation of tax revenue returns totaling D18,219.475.00 in the general ledger and the financial statements are misstated.