The National Audit Office (NAO) in its report on the audit of award of contract to Securiport for the management of immigration security services at the Banjul International Airport, has demanded explanation from the Office of the President, Ministry of Interior and Immigration as to why legal advice issued by the Attorney General’s Chambers were not considered prior to signing the contract.
According to the report, there is a risk that the contract agreement lacks sufficient indemnity clauses that fairly safeguard the interest of The Gambia and her citizens.
The report continued that there is a lack of transparency in the award of government contracts, which suggests that contracts are being awarded to favour service providers in exchange for receiving “kickbacks”.
However, the report stated that during the audit, NAO noted that the initiative to conceive a security system at the airport began in 2016. “This is evidenced through letters/correspondence in July 2016, December 2017 and May 2018 from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Interior, the Secretary General and the Director General of Immigration.”
Furthermore, the report added that these letters and correspondence highlighted several observations and recommendations for consideration before any contract is signed with Securiport.
This, the report states, includes conducting due diligence, problems associated with unsolicited proposals for public-private partnership projects and suggested renegotiation and redrafting of the agreement in its entirety.
The report reiterated that a review of the signed contract between the Government of The Gambia and Securiport revealed that the contracting authorities such as the Office of the President, Ministry of Interior and Immigration went ahead to sign the contract without taking into account the legal advice, observations and recommendations by the Attorney General.
As a cause of the above, the audit office in its audit report, recommended that a thorough investigation be carried out to establish the complete facts of the contract and establish who is responsible for the disregard to the advice of the principal legal adviser of the government.
The audit office also recommended that a thorough investigation be carried out to establish the complete facts of the entire award of the contract, to establish the officials responsible for this gross negligence and appropriate action taken to avoid future recurrence.
“We recommend the review of the entire contract to ensure that the observations and recommendations issued by the Attorney General’s Chambers are considered,” the NAO report stresses due diligence.