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HomeBreaking NewsGAMBIA: BASSE AREA COUNCIL EX-FINANCE DIRECTOR ACCEPTS LIABILITY FOR WITHDRAWAL OF HUGE...

GAMBIA: BASSE AREA COUNCIL EX-FINANCE DIRECTOR ACCEPTS LIABILITY FOR WITHDRAWAL OF HUGE SUMS

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According to testimony provided to the Commission, internal audit directors found that employees of the finance unit, which Mr. Suso leads, improperly withdrew D51 million from the Basse Area Council’s accounts between January 2020 and October 2022.

Lamin Suso withdrew D4,183,000, Acting Finance Manager Malafi Badjie D1,795,406.80, Cashier Ndaba Krubally D35,288,244.29, Budget Officer Ousainou Touray D765,569, Procurement Officer Muhammed Jawneh D1,367,254 and License Manager Modou Lamin Gerew D1,189,247 for a total of D51 million.
The audits said that one result of this was that there was a substantial possibility of the finance department mismanaging tax payer money. The auditors also said that there was a risk associated with departing from best practices and processing payments in accordance with the law for the sake of accountability and openness.

These withdrawals totaling more than D51 million were presented to Lamin Suso when he appeared before the Commission.

He confirmed that the funds were used to support council operations and said that “a significant portion of the money was used to pay salaries.”

Lamin Suso said that he is prepared to engage with his team to provide explanations for the withdrawals made from the council’s accounts by members of the Finance Unit of the BsAC that report to him.
“Auditors want to do correct auditing and ensure that it is perfect, which is not possible,” he said.
Patrick Gomez questioned, “Why will a procurement officer be making withdrawals and deposits?”

Lamin Suso said that verbal authority was in place.

Patrick Gomez remarked, “He has no business dealing with the accounts.

“Yes,” said Lamin Suso.

Patrick Gomez declared that doing it was very illegal.

“Yes,” Lamin Suso said.

The auditors only stayed at the Basse Area Council for three weeks, Suso informed the Commission. The Serious Investigation Unit of the Gambia Police Force, which had spent 21 days in Basse, had been reconciled, he said.

Lamin Suso bemoaned the errors in the management responses to the audit questions. He offered the CEO two letters he prepared in which he criticized the Management Responses. The letters were designated as exhibits and entered as evidence.

“Have you given the monthly reports to the auditors?” asked Patrick Gomez.

Lamin Suso claimed, “When the auditors arrived, I provided them 2020 monthly reconciliation.

“I have certain concerns about the time since you took office. Did you give monthly reports to the auditors? Gomez enquired.

“No,” said Suso.

The first point of failure, according to Patrick Gomez, is if you don’t give a monthly reconciliation.

“No, I didn’t,” That was a mistake, Lamin Suso acknowledged.

Have you given us any financial statements? asked Patrick Gomez.

“No, but I have explained it,” Lamin Suso said.

“There was no financial statement for the full 2021. There is no option. It is required. How will you explain to your employer how you used the money from the Area Council? asked Patrick Gomez.

“Yes, there was no financial statement,” Lamin Suso said.

“You don’t have documentation for the withdrawals,” Lawyer Gomez questioned.

Lamin Suso said, “Yes, but I have an explanation.”

Once again, Patrick Gomez questioned, “You don’t have documentation.”

“Yes,” Lamin Suso said.

Are you aware that you are fully accountable for such withdrawals, in accordance with the Financial Manual? Attorney Gomez said.

“Yes,” said Lamin Suso.

Do you acknowledge responsibility for these funds? asked Patrick Gomez.

“Yes,” Lamin Suso said.

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