Petitioners from Gambia High School demand MoBSE release the report on Principal Baba Jallow’s alleged corrupt activities

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By: Kebba Ansu Manneh

Petitioners at the Gambia Senior Secondary School (GSSS), formerly Gambia High School, are calling for the release of the long-anticipated report from a special force committee established by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE). The committee investigated a series of alleged corrupt activities by the school’s current Principal, Momodou Baba Jallow.

The increasing demand stems from the escalating frustrations of petitioners eager to learn about the various recommendations made by the Special Taskforce Committee, which has concluded its investigation and presented its findings in a report to MoBSE.

Principal, Momodou Baba Jallow.

Petitioners have conveyed their dissatisfaction and frustration to TAT about MoBSE’s hesitance and failure to disclose the Special Taskforce Committee’s report, which has been finalized and presented to the Permanent Secretary. They have observed that the Principal’s petitioners face various punitive measures, such as unjust treatment, demotions, and salary reductions.

On February 23, 2023, over twenty educators, including the Vice Principal, department heads, classroom instructors, a record clerk, and financial officers, filed a petition against the Principal, citing accusations such as official corruption, misconduct, and administrative inadequacies.

The petitioners have stated that ever since they submitted their petition to the then Permanent Secretary at MoBSE, Ebrima Sisawo, they have faced increasingly challenging working conditions under the Principal. This treatment is solely because they were part of a petition striving to uphold the school’s integrity, preserve its esteemed reputation within the country, and avoid tarnishing its name in public discourse.

The petition letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education highlighted several concerns, including the Principal’s exclusion of the Vice Principal and Senior Teachers from critical decision-making processes, the Principal’s refusal to submit his academic credentials to the records department despite claiming to hold a master’s degree, and the swift increase of his salary from D14,000 to D56,000 within a span of less than two years.

The petitioners have also alleged that Principal Baba Jallow has been deliberately undermining long-serving teachers in an effort to remove them from the school and substitute them with his personal acquaintances and connections. This is evidenced by the recent recruitment of teachers who are allegedly unqualified to teach at the senior secondary level.

The petitioners also alleged that the Principal had raised his fuel allowance from D2400 to D10,000 and awarded himself a D1000 subject allowance despite not teaching any classes. Additionally, they criticized the Principal for not repairing the broken window of the Chemistry Laboratory, which was damaged during a burglary that resulted in the theft of numerous laboratory materials.

The allegations persist that the Principal has suspended teachers without informing the Vice Principal, Senior Teachers, or department heads. It has been highlighted that the physical education department’s teaching slots have been reassigned to Isatou Jallow, a home economics teacher, without any clear rationale provided by the Principal.

The petitioners have also accused Principal Baba Jallow of paying graduate allowances to Amadou Leigh, Pa Baboucarr Jobe, and Alpha Bah, all of whom are technical drawing teachers and not yet graduates. Additionally, they claim that the Vice Principal has been excluded from administrative matters after joining the petitioners.

The petitioners have accused the School Board of Directors of making threatening statements, including threats of dismissal directed at those who refused to apologize during a special meeting. They claim that the Board has ignored their petition and continues to openly support the Principal despite the alleged wrongdoings at the school.

It was alleged that the Board Chairman, Karamo, signed numerous blank checks and gave them to the Principal, which permitted the Principal to continue making unwarranted withdrawals from the school’s account without any justification.

Stakeholders have urged the pertinent authorities to take action to resolve the impasse at the school and have called for the immediate release of the findings and recommendations of the Special Taskforce established by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.

 TAT spoke with Louis Moses Mendy, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, who acknowledged being aware of the file that includes the Special Taskforce Committee’s report. He noted that he has not yet addressed the file due to his brief tenure and other duties. He said the report’s content will be public once he settles down.

Attempts to contact the Principal were unsuccessful despite TAT’s multiple efforts via calls and texts.

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