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Friday, July 19, 2024

GPA defiant over release of preliminary corruption investigations

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By Tabora Bojang

The director of traffic operations at the Gambia Ports Authority has told the National Assembly that GPA is not in the position to share with the public findings of its preliminary investigations over an alleged corruption involving its staff because it could tamper the outcome of an ongoing audit exercise on the matter.

Appearing before the National Assembly public petition committee probing corruption allegations by staff of the GPA on Friday, Lamin Sanneh said following widespread allegations of corruption within the rating unit, the management convened an emergency meeting and established an internal task force comprising 3 members to investigate the matter.

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He said the prelimninary investigation was submitted to the management on March 16th, 2022 which resulted in the suspension of several senior and junior staff of the rating and the delivery and documentation units.

According to Mr. Sanneh, the staff were sent on administrative leave pending the investigation of the matter by the police who are waiting for an ongoing audit by the NAO to enable them to act on the case and take action against all persons involved.

He said the staff suspended from the rating unit are; Alagie Marong, manager of the rating unit, Yandeh Mbenga, assistant rating manager, Raki Bah, senior clerk, Kumba Sarr, senior clerk, Binta Sallah, a superintendent and Sohna Bojang.

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Those suspended from the delivery and documentation unit, he said, are Ousainou Cham, assistant manager, John C Loum, supervisor and Bintou Janneh, a senior clerk.

“They are sent on leave with half salary pending the outcome of the police investigation into the matter,” Mr. Sanneh informed probing members.

He disclosed that “GPA has since written to the Auditor General to conduct a special investigation as requested by the police and later to furnish the police with the report for them to take necessary actions against anyone found wanting.”

Asked if the management would be willing to share the report with the public as demanded by the petitioners, Sanneh insisted that the report is inconclusive.

 “The report is not completed. If you give it to the public and then they tamper with it, you cannot do a proper investigation. We are using the National Audit Office so that we can have a correct, conclusive report which will be accessible to everyone. The Ports belong to the public and it should be transparent and we will be transparent. But just allow us to have the audit completed by the NAO and then it will be shared with everyone. This is just preliminary report. They should be asking for the special audit report which will be out in the public when completed.”

Sanneh also denied allegations that staff of the rating unit were stealing D4 million every month as a result of the alleged corrupt practices, including overratings and duplication of receipts. 

“That is on the huge side. If we have that amount of money then port would be somehwere else. D4 million per week or month, it is not accurate.”

However, the select Committee has received the investigative report.

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