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City of Banjul
Monday, January 18, 2021

We won’t negotiate misuse of public funds

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“We cannot compromise with misuse of public funds- people responsible for misuse of public funds must be sanctioned and monies recovered,” he said.      

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“There seems to be that deliberate actions and lack of control over issues. You cannot understand how one can pay without an authority from the Chief Executive Officer, CEO. After any payment, take the vouchers to the CEO to sign before you accept the payment. These things cannot continue. The council management have to take their responsibility and sign and make sure that they understand that they are dealing with public funds and must be seen to be managing them effectively and efficiently.”

The majority leader made these statements as the members of the PAC/PEC questioned the management of Kuntaur Area Council over the alleged financial and administrative irregularities that were revealed in the National Audit report presented to the lawmakers by Karamba Touray, the auditor general.  

Auditor General’s report on Kuntaur Area Council, as from the audited period of 1 march 2011 to 31 December 2013, stated: “We noted that some market ticket books issued to Alhagie Hydara and posted in his cashbook were not produced for audit inspection. Given that both the ticket and its counterfoil or duplicate have the same features, there is the risk that the counterfoils were sold and money collected and pocketed by the revenue collectors. During our examination of payment vouchers, it was observed that vehicles were hired for mainly rates and taxes. We noted with concern that almost ten years after this Act was assented to, council has still not established an internal audit unit.”

The audited report on Janjanbureh Area Council, as of the same period, also stated: “It was noted from the examination of payment vouchers that fuel purchase amounting to D83, 680 was made in favour of non-council vehicles. We are concerned that the institutions supplied with fuel have their fuel votes as part of their budgets. The implication is there is no proper control over the issue of fuel. We noted that the council did not establish an internal audit unit but have recently identified one senior collector as an internal auditor. However, we noted that this officer neither had any training in audit nor have experience in the field of audit. The implication is the independence of the internal auditor will be at stake since he should be the one reviewing the financial transactions of the director of finance.”

Brikama Area Council, Mansakonko Area Council and Kerewan Area Council, all of which were found to have faltered in judicious financial and efficient management, also appeared before the PAC/PEC.

The Kuntaur and Janjanbureh reports were adopted unanimously by lawmakers in their morning session pending the consideration of the audited reports on Brikama Area Council, Mansakonko Area Council and Kerewan Area Council to be done during their afternoon and evening sessions respectively.  

During the question-and-answer session, Buba Ayi Sanneh, the member for Kombo Central, said: “This is total mismanagement and I don’t think the councils have thought they were going to appear before the PAC/PEC to explain this.”

This is the first time area councils have appeared before the PAC/PEC for scrutiny, leading Hon Abdoulie Bojang, the Speaker who is the chair of PAC/PEC, to say that the relationship between the National Assembly’s scrutinising body and area councils have just begun.

Officials that made up the panel of Central River Region during the morning plenary are; Governor Omar Khan; Pa Fansu Darboe, the chief executive officer of Kuntaur Area Council; Morro Keita, finance director at Kuntaur Area Council; Alhagie Mamat Mbye, chairman at Kuntaur Area Council and Lamin Sanneh, the permanent secretary at the ministry of Lands and Regional Governments.

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