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City of Banjul
Sunday, February 25, 2024


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By Omar Bah

The National Assembly Finance and Pubic Accounts Committee has demanded Brikama Area Council (BAC) to explain a discrepancy of D9.5 million in its 2021 financial statement.

The money was identified as a surplus by the council but the auditors could not find it in any of the bank accounts operated by the Council even though BAC CEO Modou Jonga explained that the monies are deposited in their accounts.

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However, the NAM for Banjul South Touma Njai, a member of FPAC, insisted that the council should explain where they put the money or she will conclude that it is missing.

“I also want to know where the council keeps its money because their income was over D88 million and according to their bank balances as we speak, just a total of D393, 000 is left in all their five bank accounts. So, where did they keep the balance? That is a cause for concern. We need to know because the D9.5 million that is supposedly a surplus must be sitting somewhere,” she said.

Reacting to Honourable Njai, the council’s finance director Dawda Jeng, said: “We operate with banks – so the monies are not sitting anywhere; they are all in the banks.”

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But Honourable Njai further insisted that since the council works with banks the supposed D9.5 million should have reflected in the council’s 2021 balance sheets.

“According to the council’s bank statement for the year 2021, there is a total surplus of D9.5 million. So, the opening balance should have been D9.5 million but it says D520, 000. So, that is a cause for concern. That is why I am saying there might be other places where these monies are kept and not at the banks because the bank accounts did not reflect it.  So maybe they have saves at the council where they save millions,” she added.

However, the council’s CEO, Modou Jonga said the issue of the D9.5 million is a problem of the reporting system.

“There is no money missing at the council and we don’t save money at the council. All monies are deposited at the banks. If you go through the page – there is a fixed deposit of D7 million which the honourable should acknowledge,” Mr Jonga said. 

But Honourable Njai argued that the fixed deposit is captured but it is separated from the issue of the D9.5 million.

At that juncture, the FPAC chairman Alhagie S Darboe asked the subject matter specialist one Mr Abdoulie B. Cham to take the floor and put things into context.

In his submission, Cham said: “Your (BAC) financial statements are prepared on a cash basis, meaning all receipts for the year amounting to D88 million were received in cash and you have made payments out of those receipts amounting to D79 million, leaving you with a surplus of D9, 925, 000 for 2020. So, that surplus should be fiscal cash because that is what you have received and spent in cash. Now, add that to your opening balance at the beginning of the year which you have carried forward from what we have been given, a sum of D40, 000. That should leave you with a closing balance of D9, 965, 866.36 but what the auditor could confirm from both your cash holding from the end of the year and from your bank statements is accumulative D393, 118.30. That shows a shortfall between your actual operation for the year as per your records are showing which should have reflected in cash or bank balances as opposed to what could be confirmed from the five banks and cash holdings. So, that is cause for concern about the discrepancy of D9.5 million. That is what we are talking about,” Cham explained.

He said the D7 million fixed deposit referred by the BAC’s CEO is out of the question because “if it was, it would have been a credit to cash and debit to investment but that too is not there”.

“In fact, the D7 million was there in 2019 and probably it was there earlier on, so that doesn’t factor or account for this discrepancy of D9.5 million,” Cham added. He said the council should engage the auditors and see whether they might have understated their expenditure.   

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