By Tabora Bojang
Sori Sillah, a senior revenue collector at the Basse Area Council, has alleged before the local government commission yesterday that the Council’s finance director Lamin Suso took away D16, 250 tax money from revenue collectors at the council and pocketed it.
The witness explained that the usual practice in the Council is that all monies collected by revenue collectors are deposited into a bank account but on this specific day, the finance director requested them to hand over the money because the Council needs to sort out some needs and was cash-constrained.
The finance director Suso is currently placed under administrative leave over alleged financial abuses pending investigations by the commission.
The witness further alleged that when he and another revenue collector Suma Jallow collected the money (D16,250) and returned to the office, Jallow went into the director’s office to inform him of their return.
“So he demanded that we give him the money we collected. The money was with Suma and when I was leaving the director’s office, I met Suma and told her that the director was requesting for the money but I did not instruct her to hand it over to him. So Suma went to the director’s office and gave him the money,” the witnessed alleged.
The witness further claimed that when Suma informed him that the director of finance took the money from her, he confronted him and the director claimed he discussed the issue with the CEO and that they needed money to sort out some issues in the council.
The witness further to disclosed that after confronting the director about the money, he issued him a paper indicating the amount they handed over to him and the date and that was the end.
However, Counsel Patrick Gomez disputed the witness’s claims and submitted that he and the finance director were both involved in the deal.
“This is the pattern in the Council where revenue collectors take money and give it to the officials. So you are together with the director in this. This is habitual. It was intentional, ” Gomez charged.
But the senior revenue collector denied this allegation, saying this was the first time he experienced such.
“I can assure you that this is the first time such a thing happened concerning me. I never knew collectors are giving money to directors. I knew about it from this commission,” the witness argued.