By Binta Jaiteh
The Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) of Gambia National Assembly (NA) has frowned at a letter fromGambia Press Union (GPU) connected to Covid-19 funds retirement and instructed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to launch a thorough investigation into the matter.
According to FPAC, GPU had failed to comply with the NA’s resolutions to retire unutilized funds for Covid- 19 relief support to media houses.
A member of FPAC, Hon. Kebba Lang Fofana, urged the committee to discountenance the letter from GPU, in which they claimed that they (GPU) are closely working with the auditors.
“The submission of the auditor’s matters to us that the letter of the union doesn’t prove any substance,” Hon. Fofana disproved.
Hon. Alagie .S. Darboe, Chairperson of the committee, pointed out that one of the issues that GPU stated is that it is the responsibility of FPAC to follow up with the media houses in question because they have done their best to ensure that the money is refunded.
“It is important for GPU to note that we didn’t disburse the money, so they must do the follow-up,” Chairman Darboe clarified.
Responding to the responses to the National Assembly resolutions by the National Audit Office, Sering Mass Jallow, disclosed that only DHK Radio that had presented their bank statement while Nuimi FM Radio, Gunjur Radio Janneh Koto, Brikama Community Radio, and Paradise FM are yet to submit theirs.
In the recent past, the National Assembly forwardedresolutions in contrast plenary considered the recommendations of FPAC on the Auditor General’s report on the Government’sCOVID-19 Phase 1 and 2 audits.
According to the resolution the Grant Management Committee (GMC) and Gambia Press Union (GPU) must return to the AGD the sum of GDM 585, 159.86 being the unused funds for the Covid-19 relief support to media houses, on or before 25th September 2023 failure of which, the Inspector General of Police must launch an investigation immediately and report back to FPAC within 90 days.