By: Alieu Jallow
The acting CEO of Basse Area Council testified before the Local Government Commission on Monday 2nd October 2023, stating that financial mismanagement at the council was caused by a lack of data in the finance department.
“The Finance Department could not find any tangible data to establish the actual financial situation of the Council. There are the absences of debtor’s registers of all revenue categories to guide us on who owes what to the Council. There are no reports from all revenue categories to guide us on what happened in the past and where we should start from and move forward,” Sallah said.
The lack of financial data has resulted in ineffective budgeting within the Council, according to CEO Sallah. He emphasized the importance of financial data in creating accurate budget forecasts, resource allocation, and distribution. Sallah said without data, financial analysis becomes poor, hindering institutions from identifying challenges and making necessary adjustments to improve their financial viability.
Sallah reiterated that the absence of financial data makes assessing the council’s financial status and identifying areas for improvement difficult, contributing significantly to increased financial risks and a lack of transparency for accountability.
He also revealed that the council operates with seven bank accounts, including GTBank, Trust Bank, Agib Bank, Vista Bank, and Ecobank, while the other two, Supersonicz and Reliance, are both financial services.
Currently, four of the seven accounts are running at a negative balance. Maintaining multiple bank accounts can be complex and time-consuming, requiring diligent oversight to ensure all transactions are accurately recorded and fees are monitored.
Sallah added that running multiple bank accounts increases the potential for errors such as misallocations, duplicate payments, or transfers to the wrong accounts.
“There was no need for operating all these accounts and we have now trimmed the number of accounts to 3”.
When Mr. Sallah took office in July of this year, he reported that the balances in GT Bank were negative D1,106, Trust Bank was negative D917,953.61, Supersonicz was negative D5,514,779.75, and Vista Bank was negative D6,140,006. This brought the total negative balance to D12,573,845.40. However, the remaining three banks had a credit balance of D133,669.91, which means that the council-owned that amount of money.
“We cannot close Vista Bank and Supersonics because we owe them,” he said.