By Tabora Bojang
A leaked letter widely circulating on social media revealed that the Ministry of Youth and Sports allegedly requested D500, 000 from the National Youth Service Scheme, NYSS, to support fund traveling expenses and per diems of senior officials of the Ministry including the minister.
The letter, which caused outrage among concerned Gambians and possible embarrassment to the ministry, stated that the move is in line with a consensus between the Ministry and its satellite institutions including the NYSS, to contribute one million dalasi towards overseas travel of the Ministry.
Clarifying the letter in an interview with Fatu Network, Dawda Lamin Ceesay, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports denied any suggestion of corruption over the matter.
He said the Ministry has not received any’ million’ as it only remains on paper and they have substantial proofs on that.
He said any allegations of wrong doing in this matter is astonishing since the letter was a request to support the augmentation of overseas expenses addressed to all satellite institutions based on a consensus reached in meeting with the Minister, since allocation of the Ministry’s budget is sliced by 1 million.
”We have three million last year and this year we have two million, which may seem a big money but if you consider the increase in the tariffs for airfares and per diem cost, you will realise what am talking about,” PS Ceesay told Fatu Network.
On whether the dissolution of the NYSS Board had anything to do with their alleged refusal to comply with this request for the D500, 000, Ceesay said the two are not connected. He said the refusal or inability of the board to fill a vacant post at the institute since February prompted the Ministry to intervene and impose what it thought to be the interest of the country’s youthful population.
”The ministry cannot continue to allow that position vacant by denying young Gambians a job they deserve.
He continued. ”The board flouted its rules and the constitution and after 8 to 9 months, we don’t think we should wait for them after two years to employ a person.”
A number of people expressed disappointment that a sensitive youth welfare body like the NYSS should be asked to part with that kind of money. “If they had even said they wanted the money for the hiring of a football coach, perhaps one can understand but for what, globe trotting? No. Mr Cham I think MoYS should think again,” an enraged sports fan told our editor Lamin Cham yesterday.