URR Regional Youth Committee Members Accused of Corruption in IOM-funded Project

The Chairman of the Regional Youth Committee, Bubacarr Sidibeh

By: Foday Manneh

Following completion of renovation works at the Basse Youth Center, the URR Regional Youth Committee (RYC) is facing allegations of corruption over the sale of building materials meant for the project.
However, RYC Chairman Bubacarr Sidibeh has denied the allegations, describing them as “baseless and fabricated”.
“The project at the youth center was executed as expected, and every material bought by the funders was utilized for the best use as required”.
He added that unused basalt from the consignment supplied “was sold with notification to the funders”.
Sidibeh further stated that proceeds from the sale were meant “to purchase unbudgeted items in the project, and buy finished materials as the works were ongoing”.
The youth leader didn’t disclose the amount got from the basalt sold, and showed no evidence of how the money was spent, but declared that every expenditure from his committee is “justifiable”. 
Funded by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the allegation is that basalt supplied to the project, worth around D40,000, was left over after the refurbishment exercise.
A source told The Alkamba Times (TAT) that this basalt was sold by some members of the Regional Youth Committee (RYC ) and the proceeds shared amongst them.
The allegation from our source is that the RYC chairman, the Youth Center Manager, Essa Drammeh, and RYC Treasurer Ma Salieu Jallow benefitted from the sale.
Our source further claimed that the remaining unused cement bags, sand, and an unknown quantity of iron rods was taken and distributed among few members, who used these materials for building projects in their homes.
Meanwhile, the RYC Public Relations Officer,  Kebba Kuyateh, said the information is news to him, and referred TAT to the Chairman Sidibeh 
“I’m not aware of any such thing. The only thing I can tell you is that IOM sponsored the renovation of the youth center, which is now completed and the youths are happy”.
However, our source insists that an eye-witness close to the project site has confirmed seeing the basalt transported in three trips with a tractor, after it was sold to a businessman in Basse.
A TAT email to the IOM office received a swift response from the Media and Communication Officer, Miko Alazaz.
“IOM supported the Regional Youth Committee to renovate the Youth Center’s basketball court. Upon completion of the work, there was some leftover basalt that remain unused. 
“During a recent visit to the Youth Center, it came to the attention of our Head of Sub-Office, Pa Njie that the leftover basalt was sold by the RYC.”
“RYC said the purpose was to fund other works at the center, such as painting the stage and spectator stands. The scope of our work was to renovate the basketball court, including painting.
“Any other work done was on RYC’s initiative. The decision to sell the basalt was not consulted with IOM prior.”
Alazas added that IOM is currently liaising with the RYC to ensure that all expenditures are accounted for in line with the IOM’s financial regulations.

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