By Omar Bah
A day after opposition leader Ousainu Darboe publicly berated him and others for failing to retire imprests totaling D31.7 million, ruling party administrative secretary Mambanyick Njie has said he is “a victim of circumstance” because he retired the imprest he is alleged to have been liable for, 14 years ago.
The National Assembly recently passed a resolution which among other things ordered that the outstanding imprests issued to ministries, departments, agencies and individuals be retired by the end of the month.
Mr Njie who once served as a permanent secretary, told The Standard yesterday:
“I heard the UDP leader Ousainu Darboe saying to his NAMs that they should ensure these monies are paid. But I want say to every Gambian that I am not afraid of being arrested or prosecuted because I have not committed any crime or misappropriated any public funds.”
Njie said the D150,000 was given to him in 2008 while he was serving as a permanent secretary in the Office of the President to be used for the mobilisation of the Green Youths to welcome heads of state attending The Gambia’s independence anniversary celebration.
“This is a programme that has no chance of not being implemented because if that had happened, the event would have failed and the former president, Jammeh, would have put me in jail. When I was promoted in January 2008 as PS number 2, the permanent secretary at the time, Ebrima Camara was the chairperson of that year’s independence celebration. But few days before the celebration he travelled and I automatically took over as chairperson of the celebration.
“A budget was prepared for the whole celebration which included the mobilisation of the Green Youths including their camping and welcoming of visiting presidents. So, when this money was paid to me, it was for the mobilisation of the Green Youths and Majanko Samusa was the APRC youth mobiliser at the time and the first thing we implemented was the procurement of the food items for the youths and we had receipts for every transaction,” he said.
Njie said “a Sabel Badjan or Hydara” was the accountant at the Office of the President at the time and he retired to her manually.
“The problem is, if she failed to communicate that to the Accountant General’s office it will continue to show in the system that I have not retired. Unfortunately, I could not follow up with her because I spent only a month there before I was deployed to the Ministry of Youths and Sport as PS,” NJie clarified.
He added: “All Gambians with common sense should know that if I had not spent that money as requested by Jammeh, I would have been arrested and charged with economic crimes. Even if I am compelled to pay that money, let it be known that it is the state that owe Mambanyick and not the other way around. I have never and will never misappropriate public funds.”
Njie said he was not consulted by the National Audit Office for clarifications during the audit exercise.