Friday, April 12, 2024

BAC Saga: Council’s Lack of Access to Accounts Halted Effective Operations for Two Weeks, But…

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By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Brikama Area Council, Lamin Singhateh, has stated that the council has not been able to provide any services for two weeks due to its decision to pass a resolution to suspend and remove the Chief Executive Officer and the Finance Director. This decision has prevented the council from accessing its bank accounts, resulting in a halt to council services and staff being unable to receive their November-December salaries.

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The PRO informed The Fatu Network that the council’s resolution to dismiss the CEO, Modou Jonga, and Finance Director, Modou Jeng, based on alleged abuse of office and incompetence, coupled with the Ministry of Local Government and Lands’ refusal to cooperate in changing signatories on their accounts, has brought their operations to a standstill, with staff not receiving pay for two months.

He told TFN that the accumulation of waste and garbage at the Brikama Market is a direct consequence of the council’s inability to access its accounts. Singhateh said, “The mess of garbage within centers like Brikama Market is a result of the Council not providing any services for two weeks. This is simply because we cannot have access to our funds at the bank.”

A month ago, the Brikama Area Council passed a resolution to suspend the Director of Finance for multiple financial malpractices and the Chief Executive Officer pending an investigation into their practices, as they were signatories to the council’s bank accounts.

However, after the council attempted to change signatories following the resolutions to suspend the duo, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Local Government and Lands advised against it. Singhateh mentioned that the council did not trust the duo, who were under investigation, to retain access to the accounts.

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This has resulted in the council being unable to conduct operations effectively.

Currently, piles of garbage have been dumped at the entrances of Brikama Market, leading to a slowdown in business for some female market vendors.

“We have pending salaries for the months of November and December; none of our staff has been paid for these months. But it is not that we don’t have money; the funds are enough to cover both November and December salaries and also sustain our services effectively,” he told TFN.

In a surprising turn of events, the council held an emergency meeting last week to explore possibilities of resolving the situation hampering council operations. After the meeting, they decided to grant Modou Jonga, the CEO accused of incompetence and misconduct, access to the funds. Since the Finance Director’s suspension was approved by the local government, the Finance Manager will now be an alternate signatory to the account.

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Staff salaries and the resumption of services are expected next week at the Brikama Area Council.

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