Monday, July 22, 2024

BAC Allocates 7000 Gambian Dalasis of Council Funds for Ceremony

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By Mama A. Touray

The Brikama Area Council (BAC) Director of Finance, Alagie Jeng, revealed before the ongoing Local Government Commission of Inquiry that BAC allocated seven thousand dalasi (D7000) of council funds to one of its staff members during a ceremony as humanitarian support.

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He disclosed this when questioned about the alleged suppression of the D7000 council fund, which he denied. Instead, he clarified, “It was spent as a contribution to a ceremony for one of the council’s staff. Brikama Area Council supports staff who have ceremonies or funerals.”

When asked who received the D7000, Jeng replied that he could not recall the staff member and did not have the record. He admitted that this expenditure was incorrect, as the Financial Manual for Local Government Councils does not permit such expenditures. “It was done on humanitarian grounds,” Jeng explained.

Director Jeng acknowledged that he knew at the time that the expenditure was unlawful, adding that “the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Council is the approving authority for all transactions, but they do not have clear guidelines on how to approve.” Chairperson Jainaba Bah gave the witness a deadline of Thursday to present evidence to the Commission regarding the staff member who received the D7000.

Jeng also testified about the unaccounted D63,000 contained in the 2020 Internal Audit Report, stating that the matter was addressed but could not provide the Commission with evidence to substantiate the claim. Chairperson Bah instructed him to provide further details on the matter.

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He was also asked about deposit slips amounting to over forty-four million and twenty-nine thousand dalasi (D44,029,000) that were not presented to the auditors as stated in the audit report. Jeng responded, “Those were transfers,” and Council Member Gomez informed him that the issue of deposit slips would not arise when the funds were transferred. Jeng clarified that they have deposit slips for land transfers, operational fees, and bank transfers but only as copies, and he was asked to provide them.

Director Jeng was further questioned about a missing D160,000. He explained that the issue was resolved, with Gomez asking him to elaborate on how it was resolved. “The market tickets were traced while the others were not. The collectors indicated their willingness to settle the outstanding fee,” he told the Commission. He was instructed to provide evidence to support his claim.

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