Gambia: Gamtel Urged to Submit 2006-2008 financial reports by Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee

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Members of Gambia’s National Assembly have urged the management of Gamtel to submit to the house its financial reports 2006 to 2008 reports. The call came following a request by the National Assembly's Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee for officials of Gamtel/Gamcel to produce the contract documents between Spectrum Investment Group and Gamcel, after the committee decided to reschedule Gamtel during their first meeting of the Joint Session of PAC/PEC on Monday.

Honourable Fabakary Tombong Jatta, majority leader and National Assembly member for Serrekunda East who was holding brief for the speaker of the House, informed the top brass of Gamtel/Gamcel of the PAC/PEC's decision to defer them (Gamtel/Gamcel) until anytime before the end of 2010. "We had a brief meeting this morning just before you came in and it was considered by the members of the committee that it is not feasible and that they would not do justice to your document if we want to consider them this morning," he said.
 
According to him, "we have just received the documents and that it is a bulky one and we have not looked at them thoroughly, both the accounts and the activity reports." "Therefore we have decided that we would not consider it this morning but we would give you another date and communicate to you before the year ends. It would have been better we consider the report and together we would be able to add value to the report and see how best we would move forward," the majority leader said.

It was after this statement that the managing director of Gamtel, Katim Touray, blamed the committee for not communicating to them as to which kind of documents his institution was supposed to produce as agreed by PAC/PEC during their first meeting with them. He said: "I think if you could recall during our last sitting, it was mentioned that the National Assembly will write to Gamtel to enlighten them about documents that should be brought before PAC/PEC. As we speak today, we have not received any letter indicating which kind of document we should bring to the National Assembly."

Touray added: "We do understand that there was an activity in Tendaba and on Sunday we received a call from the Clerk of the House informing us of some of the information that we should provide and we spent the whole weekend trying to get some of these documents printed and this is why it was delivered late. I think there has been a little bit of misunderstanding because when we came during the last sitting our understanding was that we were asked to present the 2009 accounts and those accounts were not available for reasons that we have already explained to the House."

According to him, the 2006 and 2007 accounts were already prepared and approved by Gamtel Board, but did not know that those accounts were not tabled before the National Assembly, otherwise they would have made them available and they would have done their best to give (PAC/PEC) some of the reports of the activities that may have culminated into those accounts.

At this point, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, who is holding brief for the speaker intervened and explained that MD Touray should leave that part until when they have their sitting.

"He can't explain those in details now. I think what we are saying is that you were to submit your 2006/07 and 2008 accounts which have already been prepared and you only believe it was going to be 2009 accounts, probably it was a change of management because it is obvious that all audited accounts as far back as 2000 to 2002 as far as National Assembly is concerned, should be presented here. Probably that has been the misunderstanding. We appreciate that and acknowledged that there was that small misunderstanding but I think it should be clear that next time institutions should believe that all audited accounts, financial statements should be submitted to the National Assembly, whether they have been years back or not because it is a constitutional requirement. We also urged you to spare us time we would give you another date before the year-end, so that together we look at the accounts of 2006/07 and 2008," he concluded.

Earlier, Touray revealed that Gamcel had not signed any contract with Datacom Spectrum. He revealed that the contract was signed between The Government of The Gambia and Spectrum, and not Gamcel and Spectrum. According to him, the government signed as a shareholder in that contract while Spectrum signed as an investment group.