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Monday, October 2, 2023

GYCC board rejects NYC suspension notice

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Press release

On behalf of the board of directors of the Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce (GYCC), the public is hereby urged to ignore the National Youth Council (NYC) claims that they have suspended the board.

We also urged you to ignore all information coming from the suspended CEO Baboucarr Kebbeh because it doesn’t represent the organisation including information, he shares in our social media handles which are still in his possession.

The unfortunate actions of the NYC were meant to protect the CEO, who was recently found wanting of fraud, official misconduct, non-financial compliance transactions, among other scrupulous behaviors. These revelations are confirmed by the recently concluded Audit Reports of 2017-2023 of the Chamber, financial reviews, and documents in possession of the board.

The GYCC as any other Chamber of Commerce, is a non-profit organisation registered with the Registrar General’s office under the Ministry of Justice hence it is not allied, under the support or umbrella of any government entity, the National Youth Council inclusive.

It is also a private sector membership-based organisation.

Whiles the Chamber is currently under recession, the board will utilise all possible options to ensure proper accountability, transparency, good governance, and a proper remedy of our internal issues.

Therefore, members of the Chamber and the public are advised to remain steadfast in the spirit of private sector development.

Issues raised

It is of great concern and dismay that a series of misunderstanding has emerged between GYCC and the NYC, which has been promulgated by the actions of the board in taking disciplinary steps against the CEO of GYCC, for been involved in unclassified expenses of about D2 million loss of revenue to the Chamber worth about D2.4 million (a total sum of D4.4 million).

A step was taken by the board to suspend the CEO pending investigations into the matter but the CEO refused to corporate with the investigation process and involve the NYC who invited us to a voluntary meeting.

During the meeting, the NYC pleaded with us to withdrew the suspension despite the presentation of prove of all the allegations and recommendations made against the CEO.

The CEO has entered some contracts without seeking the approval of the board and he ignored all warnings coming from the board.

A recent Audit Report (2017 – 2022), confirms the earlier mentioned unclassified expenses of D2,051,905 and the board have evidence of all the other remaining claims. In respect to the promotion of accountability, transparency, and good governance, and on behalf of the members of the chamber, the board intends to take disciplinary measures against the management for compromising the integrity of the chamber, prior to going for a congress which is schedule for this year.

On the second aspect, the CEO also authorised for the payment of €17,500 for a contract worth €35,000 (D1,960,000) to a supplier on behalf of the chamber without following the provisions of our financial policy, procurement practice, contractual agreement and prior knowledge and approval by the board.

The supplier has not provided the items and refused to refund the 17, 500 euros which was a 50 percent upfront payment.

This has caused a financial lost worth D2,450,000 to the Chamber.

There are also evidence of the CEO engaging in contracts on behalf of the Chamber without the prior knowledge, review, and approval of the board, as well spending cash on behalf of the chamber without the due review and approval by the board’s treasurer and the board by extension.

The aforementioned irregularities led to an immediate disciplinary action against the CEO to ensure that due process is taken to avert further financial losses.

It is therefore unfortunate, to see the NYC attempting to dissolve the GYCC board in consultation with the minister of Youth and Sports, presumably pursuant to Article 15 of the National Youth Act which give them powers to act on National Youth Organisations during times of crises. However, it is important to note that the Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce is not a National Youth Organisation but a chamber comprising of registered businesses.

As a result of these undesirable circumstances which may affect the youth in the private sector fraternity, we deem it swiftly necessary to engage the National Assembly in helping to address this menace which requires an urgent attention before the situation aggravates to a higher gravity.

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