The leadership of the Faculty and Staff Association of the University of The Gambia under the stewardship of Dr. Essa Touray has expressed concerns over the hiring procedures and the recent extension of contacts for two consultants – Mr. Baboucarr Dibba, Estate and Construction; Mr. Sam Ali Ashcroft, Finance.
The Association alleges that these two appointments may not be in conformity with the established UTG service rules as their mandates up till today remain unclear.
Among the critical issues of concern, the Association’s President, Dr. Essa Touray, said the appointments of the Estate and Construction and the Finance Consultants have raised a huge concern in the UTG and that needs urgent attention by the Authorities because such ambiguous contract awarding ends up becoming full-time or resulting in permanent employment without necessarily undergoing the formal and standard recruitment process.
UTG Faculty and Staff Association President revealed while referencing both the Gambia’s Labour Act and the Gambia Public Procurement Authority’s Regulations 2018 that consultants typically provide independent services and are paid according to specific terms and conditions; however, Mr. Dibba and Mr. Ashcroft have been placed on the UTG’s payroll with pay grades and additional benefits as those of permanent employees, which raises questions regarding adherence to financial regulations.
“Consultants shall provide professional, objective, and impartial advice and at all times hold the client’s interests paramount, without any consideration for future work,” Dr. Touray quoted the GPPA Regulations 2018 binding upon all public institutions in the country.
The Faculty and Staff Association of the UTG maintained that such did not transpire in the country’s highest institution of learning as the consultants in question have their contracts extended for another 6 months at the expiration of the initial 6-month contract in September 2023. The body also contended that the temporary positions should have been advertised for every qualified Gambian to apply, a practice in keeping with Section 8.1 of UTG’s Conditions of Service.
“Where an established non-academic post becomes vacant, it shall be advertised within the University and nationally with the requirements for filling the post, duties, salaries and relevant conditions of service clearly stated,” Dr. Touray cited Section 8.1 of the UTG’s Conditions of Service.
The Faculty and Staff Association also reported inconsistency in the line of reporting for the consultants, which contrasts sharply with the UTG’s hierarchical structure. It revealed that Mr. Baboucarr Dibba, Estate and Construction Consultant, reports to the VC instead of the Director of Facilities and Auxiliary Services. In contrast, Mr. Sam Ali Ashcroft, the Finance Consultant, should have written to the Director of Finance instead.
Dr. Touray, the President of the UTG Faculty and Staff Association, calls on the University Management to come up with clear and distinct mandates for these consultants while urging them to strictly adhere to the established regulations and organizational structure of this institution. He also emphasized the need to promote and maintain transparency and uphold the UTG’s Service Rules for the interest of the institution and The Gambia as a whole.