Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Former BAC Finance Manager Seeks One-Week Extension to Explain 23 Million-Dalasi Fund Withdrawal

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Former finance manager of the Brikama Area Council, Lamin Suso, has requested the Local Government Commission of Inquiry to grant him one week to provide an explanation for his withdrawal of over D23 million from the council’s funds.

He made this request during questioning by the commission regarding the D23,381,286.53 withdrawal he made from the accounts of the Brikama Area Council. In response, he asked the Commission for a week’s time to allow him to explain the withdrawals, stating, “These were transactions done by me.”

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Suso was also questioned about a D4.6 million withdrawal he made. When asked why he withdrew money from the Council’s accounts, Suso responded that he was instructed by the Director of Finance. He added that this occurred when the accounts clerks were busy.

Initially, Suso argued that his actions were in line with the law because he had the authority to withdraw money from the council’s accounts. However, he could not cite any specific law granting him this power. When his role was read to him, he insisted that other duties were verbally assigned to him from time to time, and he only collected the cheques and carried out the withdrawals.

Lead Counsel Gomez informed Suso that the commission would require him to provide the necessary information regarding where the money was spent. Suso expressed difficulty in doing so, stating, “That will be very difficult for me.” Consequently, Suso was granted a week to gather evidence related to the D23,381,286.53 withdrawal.

During the proceedings, Chairperson Jainaba Bah reminded Suso that the total income received by BAC in 2018 was D70,017,038, and in 2019, it was D78,508,376.98. Suso explained that he was Finance Manager 1, and there was another Finance Manager 2, indicating they shared responsibility for safeguarding the Council’s revenue.

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Regarding the handling of cash in 2018, Suso mentioned that only flat rate collectors were permitted to bring cash to the council, attributing this to a management decision and the prevailing arrangement at the time.

Suso was presented with the 2019 audit report detailing a list of deposited funds. The auditors noted that while the monies were recorded in the cash book, there was no evidence of deposits.

In his testimony, Suso mentioned that he used to reconcile with the Principal Cashier (Lamin K. Kanteh) using bank statements, relying on deposit slips, credit advice, and the bank for reconciliation. When Counsel Gomez referenced Mr. Kanteh handing over physical cash after reconciliation, Suso denied receiving physical cash from Mr. Kanteh.

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