Monday, July 22, 2024

We are ‘capable of monitoring revenue collectors and the amounts they collects’: BAC IT officer tells commission

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By Mama A. Touray

Amid the ongoing Local Governments Commission of Inquiry into financial mismanagement and corruption at the Brikama Area Council (BAC), the council’s information technology officer, Alieu Badou Jeng, testified that their IT unit is capable of monitoring revenue collectors and the amounts they have collected.

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During his testimony, Jeng explained to the commission that a revenue collector is only authorized to collect revenue for a specific area. Similarly, a licensed collector may have access to information about properties or markets, but they are restricted to collecting licenses only within the area they are assigned to.

“The system will capture the name of the person, the property, the location, the date of collection, and the amount collected,” he said.

Alieu informed the commission that the collection device allows for cash payment, cheque, or bank transfer and that the devices only record information input by the revenue collectors, adding that it cannot by itself input information.

He said the dashboard shows the summary of the collections from rates, licenses, and markets.

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“Any transaction that is done immediately reflects in the dashboard,” he said.

Regarding access to the dashboard, Jeng stated that the Internal Audit Unit, the Chief Executive Officer, and the IT Unit all have access and can monitor the activities of the revenue collectors.

He said he sends the Internal Audit Unit emails containing information on the collections, which is what they use to do reconciliation with the collectors.

Jeng testified that 5C supplied BAC with four digital tax collection systems in 2020 and subsequently provided an additional ninety-six. Upon inquiry about these devices, he committed to furnishing the Commission with comprehensive details about the devices and the revenue collectors.

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He said 5C first did a presentation about their system and the Council decided to use it.

Regarding the operation of the devices, the witness explained that they consist of three modules: one for the market, another for licensing, and a third for property. He further stated that revenue collectors are granted access to these modules to carry out their collections.

He clarified that taxpayer information is integrated into the system, and upon collecting the revenue, the collector simply prints out a ticket and hands it to the taxpayer.

“The machine will record every transaction they conduct unlike the GTR system where the collectors would bring what they claim to have collected,” the witness said.

Regarding the security of the data system at the Brikama Area Council, the Jeng said they purchased anti-viruses last year, but they have already expired.

He mentioned that they are now in the procurement phase to acquire new ones. He noted that a draft policy was developed approximately two years ago, yet it has not been reviewed with the management of the BAC.

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