By: Foday Manneh

A financial management report of the Basse Area Council has revealed that over D30 million of the Council’s funds have been mismanaged within ten months.

A task-force committee was formed to investigate the financial mismanagement of the Council and the breach of a fifteen million dalasi (D15 million) loan repayment to Vista Bank and Supersonics Micro Finance.

According to a committee report seen by this medium, a total of D30 884, 954.00 was deposited to the Council’s accounts from January to October 2022, excluding a D15 000,000.00 loan from Vista Bank and SuperSonics.

However, the committee’s findings found only D70,000.00 remaining in the balance of income as of October 11, 2022.

“We have defaulted in all banks except AGIB and EcoBank. The EcoBank account was closed in 2021.” The report stated.

Many staff of the Council has been found wanting by the committee for embezzlement of funds; among them is the Council’s Finance Director, Lamin Susso.

Mr. Susso deposited funds amounting to one million and fifty thousand dalasis to the bank as per the Council’s bank statement. Still, the committee says this is different from the responsibilities of the Finance Director.

From 2021 to date, the Finance Director also withdrew D2 825, 467.00 from the Council’s account without any reason for the withdrawals.

An anonymous source close to the Council said, “the CEO must sign and authorize all payments of the council, but the director of finance has been forging the signature of the CEO to make withdrawals on behalf of the council.”

Also, one of the factors that contributed to this significant mishandling of funds within BsAC is the internal and external activities of the Council.

As per the report, the fuel prices per staff were reviewed, and the procurement officer of the Council, Muhammad Jawneh, has been named as the highest fuel receiver as the procurer.

The purchase of fuel by the Council from May to September 2022 shows that the administration received fuel worth D255, 738.32, Chairman; D123, 911, Tesito; D25, 127, Planning Unit; D174, 355.63, and support to outsiders; D52, 375.22, amounting to a total of D631, 507.70 within four months.

In April this year, the Chairman of the BSAC told TAT that his Council was facing enormous financial challenges, which affected the implementation of some proposed projects for 2022.

However, the task force said there had not been any control mechanism regarding expenditure and budget allocations by the management leading to the Council’s fiscal meltdown.

The committee recommended that the Council’s Director of Finance provide a financial statement showing all council expenditures from January to October 2022, on or before November 10, 2022.

“He should explain to the general council why those withdrawals of over D2 million were made, and the cheques signed for withdrawal.” The committee stressed.

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