By Binta Jaiteh
The Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) of the National Assembly has tasked officials of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) to present an accurate list of all those who benefited from the Covid-19 food distribution.
Honorable Alagie Mbow, member of FPAC) objected to the statements made by NDMA officials on the committee, saying “The essence of the audit query is to give a response but you waited until the last minute and decided to respond which was supposed to be done before the finalization of the report, the committee tasked you to present an accurate list of all those who benefited from the covid 19 food distribution.”
He added that the overall conclusion, as highlighted in Phase 1 of the Covid-19 audit, was that there were instances in Phase 2 where the distribution of food and medical items did not comply with the relevant laws and regulations.
Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) engaged the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) over auditors’ queries of 25 households in the Central River Region South, Lower River Region, Upper River Region, and West Coast Region on the audit of the Government Covid -19 response of Food distribution phase 2.
Speaking during the engagement with lawmakers and the NDMA Team Sering Mass Jallow, Director of Audit NAO said: “Findings from the review on the data collection we noted that vulnerable households in NBR, LRR, CRR, and URR received food aid.”
He said during their verification of the selected 28 DPs at the distribution points they interviewed 550 households out of which 25 informed the auditors that they didn’t benefit from the food distribution.
Jallow stated that the auditors recommended that henceforth the system should be strengthened to ensure that beneficiaries can be accurately identified and the quantities received are established.
He also said the auditors added that at the time of doing the auditing, it was not brought to their attention that the distribution was not completed and some of the villages they visited informed them that others didn’t benefit.
However, Sanna Dahaba, Director General NDMA stated that with regards to the Covid-19 data, NDMA didn’t collect any data, adding the data emanated from the governor’s office using the chiefs and Alkalos.
“Our role was to verify the data but at that time there was no time to verify. The data approved at the regional level was the one NDMA used,” he noted.
Amadou Sanneh data manager of NDMA said that they have limitations when it comes to the Covid-19 distribution, adding there was no household data across the country, and when they were responding they relied on the data from the region.