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Friday, October 7, 2022

Investigations recommend suspension of GPPC staff for possible economic crime

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By Omar Bah

A fact-finding report obtained by The Standard has recommended a senior supervisor at the Gambia Printing and Publishing Corporation be put on administrative leave for a possible economic crime.

According to our sources, in December 2021, Mustapha Boye was allegedly caught carrying licence discs purportedly meant for the KMC and WCR amounting to over D4 million. A four-man committee was established to investigate Mr Boye’s fraud allegations. When the GPPC managing director was asked about the matter in an interview with The Standard last May, he denied receiving any such report.

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“That is not true. I have never received such a report against any of my staff,” GPPC Momodou Ceesay said last May.

But The Standard has managed to get hold of the fact-finding report detailing what transpired. According to the report, the incident in question happened on the 23rd of February.

The report highlighted that during the investigations, various documents at the corporation were inspected and reviewed and interviews conducted with personnel who witnessed the incident.

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Gerand Ndure (supervisor), Shollar Johnson (supervisor), Momodou Lamin Colley, Alassan Kambi, Alieu Secka (store supervisor), Bakary Camara (store assistant), Dawda Dumbuya (supervisor), Mr. Amidou Jawara and Mr. Boye (supervisor) were all interviewed during the investigations.

According to the findings, Mr Boye came to the press at the Annex holding some testing discs (KMC and WCR) in his hand and then inserted the license discs plate in the machine without a work ticket to operate the machine and then after completing the printing, he left the Press with the said materials.

The report stated that one of the interviewees informed the investigators that he saw Mr Boye around the Ministry of Works holding some license discs.

“The following day, Mr Boye tried to remove the plate from the machine but he was asked to stop because an order was given that no one should touch the machine for evidence purposes,” the report said.

According to the investigations a week earlier, Mr Boye allegedly printed Banjul City Council license discs and went away with the materials without any explanation.

The report revealed that all the printers who were at work on that day confirmed that Mr Boye was seen printing the license discs.

“This printing was done at a time when the contract the GPPC had with KMC had closed for months,” the report added.

“We also interviewed Amadou Sanneh (plate making) and he told us that Mr Boye went there and told him to make a plate (GTO) for the KMC testing discs. He said he asked Boye for the work ticket but he told him that it is at an annex but he is going to bring it once he got there but once the plate was made, Mr Boye went with it and never brought the work ticket,” the report said.

According to the report, Mr Boye was also interviewed and he confirmed printing the licence discs but he was quick to say that it was meant for extra printing of the KMC discs and to cover up for the shortage for that of Banjul.

“Boye said after the printing from Annex he went out of the Press and realized that there was no official vehicle in place. He said he then decided to leave with the materials to the Annex for safekeeping and that he was at the Ministry of Works to buy a pen. He said the items were later handed over to the MD,” the report added.

The report said Mr. Boye broke the following office protocols: “The work tickets for West Coast and KMC were closed since the 17th of December 2020 and the jobs were not entered in the section’s register (not accounted for) by none of his seniors (production manager and assistant managers) authorized him to print these materials.

“He went outside of the Corporation with Government Revenue Materials on foot heading to a different direction to that of the Corporation. He finished these materials at the annex when government revenue materials are normally finished at the head office and not annex.

“All of these evidences we gathered suggest to us that Mr. Boye was trying to misappropriate these government revenue materials for his personal gains and therefore we recommend that an urgent action be taken by the office,” the report added.

Investigators recommended that Mr Boye should be sent on administrative leave whilst they continue with the investigation.

“In addition, the Fraud Investigation Unit of the Gambia Police Force should be informed so that they can launch their investigation as this is an economic crime and there are chances that some of the discs might be in circulation,” the report added.

The report further revealed that Mr Boye’s record file was reviewed and it was detected he doesn’t have a good track record as he was given three warning letters for insubordination.

“The last one which was the final warning letter issued to him is dated 11th of August 2016. All the previous offences committed are terminable per section 2.10 subsection (b) of the Service Rule,” the report added.

The investigators recommended action to be taken against the printers involved and the securities at the place be warned to ensure that at “no account should they leave their guard post during the working hours”.

But responding to the findings and recommendations of the committee, the GPPC Managing Director Momodou Ceesay commended Mr Boye for unreservedly putting his best for the corporation at all times. “This made him one of the few staff that can operate the Bielomatik machine. It must be understood that he is human and human means err. However, if one were to weigh him, his merits will out-shine his demerits. Therefore, sending him on administrative leave would hurt the GPPC more than it would hurt him (Boye) as a person. Given what all has been said in the absence of any material and concrete evidence against him, management could not levy any punitive action on him,” MD Ceesay argued, captured in an extra session on the review of the investigation report submitted by the ad hoc committee.  

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