Tuesday, May 28, 2024

BAC Principal Cashier Kanteh Admits Issuing D136,000 Receipt to Revenue Collector Cham After Initial Denial

- Advertisement -

By Mama A. Touray

Lamin K. Kanteh, the Principal Cashier of the Brikama Area Council, conceded to issuing a receipt of D136,000 to Jainaba Cham, a revenue collector, after first refuting the allegations during the Local Government Commission of Inquiry proceedings.

- Advertisement -

It may be remembered that Jainaba Cham, in her testimony, alleged to the commission that the collection of D136,000 was conducted by her colleague, Mustapha Joof, utilizing her login credentials.

In response to Jainaba’s claim, Kanteh, upon being shown the receipt, disputed its legitimacy, stating, “This is not my receipt, and [is it] not my signature [either].”

Kanteh told the commission that he only gives receipts to collectors who passed through the Internal Audit Unit and also records the information contained in the lodgement roll in the receipts.

He stated that Jainaba Cham was not being truthful and initially described Mustapha’s actions as criminal, but then promptly revised his statement to “What Mustapha did was not correct.”

- Advertisement -

When Counsel Gomez took him back to what he said, Kanteh responded: “It is a slip of the tongue. It is a mistake. I wanted to say what he did was wrong”.

Kanteh continued: “Jainaba Cham cannot collect that huge sum because she collects flat rates. The money must be with Mustapha Joof. I did not receive any money”.

Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez presented further evidence and persisted with his questioning. Kanteh subsequently admitted to the Commission, “I made a mistake. The receipt and the signature are mine.”

Counsel Gomez told him “You cannot come here and have it easy. We will get you”.

- Advertisement -

Cashier Lamin testified that upon noticing the substantial amount and realizing that Jainaba Cham could not have collected such a sum in her usual duties, he alerted the auditors and requested their intervention.

When asked the whereabouts of the money, he said he asked both Jainaba and Mustapha and they claimed to have deposited the money into the council account.

Kanteh stated that he issued the receipt believing it would implicate Jainaba and Mustapha, anticipating that the National Audit Office’s investigation after one year and six months would ensnare them.

Gomez asked: “You want Jainaba and Mustapha to wait for the National Audit Office to account for the money? “Yes,” he answered.

When asked if he had asked for a bank deposit, Kanteh said no. Both Chairperson Jainaba Bah and Counsel Gomez then told him “You don’t care for the funds of the Brikama Area Council”.

He responded that when the auditors come, they will be able to see it.

Kanteh stated that he did not request proof of the bank deposit, nor did he verify the Council’s accounts to confirm whether the money was deposited.

He explained that before issuing a receipt, he depends on the information provided in the lodgement log by the Internal Audit Unit.

He added that the receipt he issued showed D140,300, but Chairperson Jainaba Bah indicated that the total should have been D141,750, a discrepancy he acknowledged.

Commissioner Sillah pointed out that his decision to leave the issue to be resolved by the NAO was irresponsible, which he conceded.

Kanteh revealed that Mustapha Joof had confessed to using Jainaba Cham’s login credentials to withdraw the money.

“Mr. Kanteh, we are interested in knowing where the money is. You must tell us where the money is or else it will appear that you conspired with the revenue collectors to deprive the Council of revenue,” Counsel Gomez told the witness.

Popular Posts