By Omar Bah
The Banjul City Council yesterday rejected claims of a missing D40, 810, 232.30 at the council as baseless, and ridiculous and a politically motivated cheap propaganda.
The Council was responding to a terse scripted document anonymously shared on Ebou Faye for Banjul Mayor 2023 social media handle, alleging that D19, 909, 042. 14 in cash and D20, 901, 190,16 in cheques were collected and recorded as receipts in the main cash book but not deposited in the bank or spent between January 2019 and December 2020.
Ebou Faye is a defeated Independent mayoral candidate in 2018 who is aspiring to contest the mayor ship again this year.
The social media post stated that according to the financial and accounting manual for local government authorities, all collections made by the accounting staff should be immediately deposited into the council’s bank accounts using pre-numbered paying-in-slip and that no cheque or cash substations shall be made from revenue collected.
But reacting to the allegations, the BCC Chief Executive Officer Mustapha Batchilly, said the allegations are completely false and a fabrication designed to tarnish the image of the council. He noted that if the person who shared it is genuine, he or she could have reached out to the council for any queries before anonymously publishing it.
“Everywhere around the world, people know very well that whenever you have an audit query, you are also bound to have management’s response. In this case, we don’t have a clue as to who made this anonymous posting, but the allegations are spurious and just ridiculous,” CEO Batchilly told journalists at the BCC offices in Banjul.
He explained that every report that has queries should have at least a section in which the management is allowed to react.
“But in this case, we just saw someone alleging financial malpractices in an anonymous post which has a huge potential to bring confusion, especially within our taxpayer community. So, we felt that we have to tackle this issue because we cannot be fooled anymore. These are things that we say should stop. If you want to attack institutions, you have to be very armed. This allegation is baseless and absolutely rubbish,” Batchilly stated.
Momodou Camara, the council’s finance director dismissed the allegations and offered free access to all interested Gambians, especially citizens of Banjul to go and review the council’s audited financial report.
“What is circulating on social media has no substance whatsoever. I don’t know where that anonymous piece of information came from,but the final audited report can be accessed at my office and at the National Assembly, our line ministry and all other relevant stakeholders,” Camara said.
He said the document circulating on social media has “no bearing whatsoever on this final draft”.
“It is hearsay and I don’t like responding to social media comments. The documents are there and can be accessed. The report circulating on social media is fake. It has no reference point so it is just another hoax. This is just another politically motivated behavior attempting to tarnish the council’s image,” Camara said.