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Saturday, October 16, 2021

BARROW YOUTHS FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT THREATENS TO SUE BOARD

By Omar Bah

At least 22 angry staff of the President Barrow Youths for National Development have threatened to take legal action against its board chairman Alkali F. Conteh, who is also the Special Adviser to President Barrow, as well as the movement’s secretary general, Kebba Lang Fofana who is also NPP youth wing secretary general.

A senior staff of the Barrow Youth for National Development, who begged to remain anonymous shared a write-up with The Standard yesterday alleging the board has been deducting staff salaries to pay their social security and income tax but the deducted monies were never paid to the Social Security & Housing Finance Corporation, SSHFC.

According to our source, the staffers have made their own inquiry only to discover that the monies were not paid to the SSHFC.

“We have made several consultations demanding these payments to be effected but our request was not taken seriously. At some point, the Movement’s secretary general Kebba Lang Fofana and chairman Alkali Conteh, stopped picking our calls to respond to our messages or written communications to this effect. Now we are ready to take the matter to the court to demand our 36 months social security deductions,” the staff alleged.

Conteh, who is a former member of the Public Service Commission (PSC) was appointed as Special Adviser to President Adama Barrow last October. He replaced the leader of Gambia Moral Congress Mai Ahmad Fatty, who resigned from the position in October last year.

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The Standard contacted Mr Conteh on the phone and put forward the allegations to him but he said he was not going to comment on the matter via telephone. However, when asked whether he could facilitate a meeting with the reporter he said “thank you” and hung up the telephone.

When The Standard called him again, he said: “I am going to talk to them [Barrow Youth for National Development staff].” The Standard tried calling Mr Kebba Lang Fofana but even after dozens of attempts, his phone remained unreachable.

The organisation was founded in 2018 by a group of young people to support the president’s national development agenda. Since its establishment the organisation has established offices in all the regions around the country. Its intervention includes supporting young people and women with the provision of milling machines, digging of boreholes, building of horticultural gardens, among other things. According to the staff, the organisation gets its funding through writing project proposals seeking donations from Gambian and foreign philanthropists. It also pays its staffers across the country from the monies it earned from those projects.

Opponents of the president had described the organisation as a political party rather than a development agency. But the Gambian leader has argued that those criticising the organisation are harboring a hidden agenda.

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