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Monday, September 25, 2023

Jammeh’s State House was managing donor funds — AG Bah


By Baba Sillah

The Accountant General Momodou Lamin Bah yesterday reappeared before the Janneh Commission to give evidence on Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) account which he said was opened by the department of treasury in 2007 for the purpose of poverty reduction.

Accountant General Bah said when donor agencies disburse funds, they would send a team to assess and know the level of progress. When put to him by Commissioner Abiosseh George that the funds were not used for their intended purposes, he responded that they were meant to be used for debt reduction but instead they were not. He informed commissioners that specific expenditures do not feature in the budget.

He further testified that all government funds should form part of the consolidated revenue fund. He confirmed that items spent from the funds were not executed from the budget.
Mr Bah finally acknowledged that the donor funds were supposed to be managed by his office but rather it was managed by the office of the former president.

He said some of the monies received from donors were meant to support the budget which was a direct expenditure and that the transaction was not consistent; adding that all expenditures were made as a result of directives from the ministry of finance.

At that juncture, Commission Counsel, Amie Bensouda, asked him whether the Ministry of Finance was receiving directives from another end, he responded that this was not communicated to him.
Bah further testified that the money from the donors are usually deposited into a standalone account at Central Bank and there would be direct expenditure from the account.

Fatou Lamin Faye, former Minister of Basic and Secondary Education reappeared in connection to cash withdrawals from the Mobilization account. The last time she appeared before the Commission, counsel Bensouda asked her to account for the outstanding sum of D3, 000,000 from this account.
However, she testified that she did not have documents in relation to the sum of D37, 200 because Ismaila Sanyang, former deputy permanent secretary, Office of the President, told her that he could not get the receipt.

According to her, Yankuba Colley, Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council, was supposed to retire the sum D384, 000, further noting that the sum D230, 000 was to cover some mobilisation activities.

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