By Buba Gagigo
Karamba Touray, former Auditor General of the Gambia, said the Chief Executive officers and Financial Directors of councils should be the ones to blame for any financial mismanagement that may have taken place at the councils, not mayors and chairpersons.
“Most of the time it is the Finance Director and his CEO. The CEO is the accounting office and his immediate deputy interns of accountability is the Finance Director. These are the two people that manage the system,” he said.
Mr. Touray lamented that most of the Councils are using systems that their staff do not understand, which he says is creating a lot of problems for them.
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“They are using a system that the staff are not familiar with. The necessary training that should have been done before you brought in the system did not happen. I know these councils have adapted and abandoned a lot of systems over the years because they cannot operate some of those systems for lack of capacity,” he said.
The former Auditor General said that Interns of record keeping, digitalization is the solution to eliminate the problem of missing documents.
“People also like to keep the recording systems insideso that they can do whatever they want to do. In addition to that, there is a capacity issue in all councils. I have always said that they need to build their capacity to be able to manage these things. Computerized their systems to eliminate some of these mess because now digitalization is the way forward for everything,” he said.
The former Auditor General said they have never recommended any commission of inquiry for the government, saying that is the prerogative of the executive.
“For us, wherever we come across cases of suspected theft, we simply inform the police to carry out the investigation in that particular area and inform us. That is the prerogative of the executive, but if the executive is coming to defend those people they are supposed to investigate, you don’t expect any investigation. That’s why when I heard about this commission of inquiry on councils and the allegation of Witch-hunting, I said they will be right.
“If you have somebody steal ten dalasis, you didn’t say anything, and somebody else stole one Dalasis and you talk. People will say it is biased. You can’t compare them. You are talking about millions here and thousands on the other side. The Accounting officer is the CEO, he is the accounting officer. He is responsible for the financial affairs of the institution. Even if the mayor wants to buy a table and is not in order, he can refuse. The Mayors and Chairmen need to be there to support their team, but the people that need to be in the hot seat are the CEO and Finance Director,” the former Auditor General told Kerr Fatou during his special interview on Monday.