Tuesday, May 28, 2024

LG Commission exposes BAC tax collector’s failure to deposit D17,000 from D56,000 in tax revenues

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By Mama A. Touray

The current Local Government Commission of Inquiry, established to investigate corruption and financial mismanagement in local government councils, has observed that Sohna Touray, a Brikama resident and rates and taxes collector stationed at New Yundum, accumulated D56,000 from 1st April 2022 to July 2022, yet failed to deposit more than D17,370.

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Sohna received additional information regarding her collections, noting that she deposited less than what was collected. She faced inquiries about the dates and amounts of the repayments she claimed to have made.

She was asked about a D4000 shortage which she claimed to have repaid.

“I made the payment in the Council’s account after I was told about the shortage,” she said.

The deposit slip, dated 14th April 2020 and the receipt dated 14th April 2020 from the Brikama Area Council, were both tendered and admitted on evidence.

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Counsel Gomez inquired of Sohna about the evidence she could present to the commission to demonstrate that the specific payment was to cover her shortfall. Sohna replied that the payment had been made at the bank, and the deposit slip was submitted to the Council, where she received a receipt.

Gomez told her that the amount was supposed to be D4,200, but she paid D4,050.

At this juncture, the witness furnished the commission with two sets of cash books: the first encompassing the years 2015 to 2020, and the second documenting the year 2023.

“The cash book for 2021 and 2022 was lost. I was not making entries. I do the collection and go to the bank to do the deposits then go to the council with the deposit slips to the auditors for auditing,” she informed the commission.

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Sohna Touray faced further inquiries regarding her collections and her absence from auditing sessions. Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez notified the witness that the lodgement registers from the Internal Audit Unit showed she had not attended the auditing.

She was also informed of her D1,575, D3,325, D4,950, D2,550, D1,100, and D3,600 collections. She responded: “I submitted all these collections, and I was issued bank receipts for all of them. I took the deposit slips to the audit unit for auditing. The only mistake I made was that I did not sign the audit books”.

She added: “After all this, I went to the Principal Cashier and got the receipts. The receipts are lost”.

Touray said she was informed that she had a shortage of D17,000. She went to the auditors to do a reconciliation and explained “After the reconciliation, there was a shortage of D12,800 and I have paid the money already”.

The witness submitted an Eco Bank deposit slip dated March 9, 2024, and GTR receipts from March 19, 2024, each documenting transactions totalling D12,800. Both items were accepted as evidence and labelled as exhibits.

Sohna Touray will reappear at the commission to continue her testimony.

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