By Musa S. Sheriff
Fourteen staff of the Brikama Area Council (BAC) havebeen suspended over allegations of corruption following the release of the council’s finance committee’s report, The Voice has gathered.
The Chairman of BAC, Yankuba Darboe, recommended the immediate suspension of the affected staff in a memo that he issued to the council’s Establishment Committee following the unveiling of the report that revealed instances of shady transactions and revenue suppression against them.
The suspended staff includes Omar Saidykhan, Bai SaitJeng, SulaymanJeng, AlhagieJeng, MalickJeng, Muhammed EbrimaJallow and EbrimaJallow.
The BAC Chair said the suspensions were in conformity with the objectives of the BAC’s new administration to fight corruption at the council.
The staff will remain under indefinite suspension until such time that a thorough and impartial investigation can be launched.
The suspended director of finance AlhagieJeng, according to Chairman Darboe’s memo, had employed or enrolled many members of his family on the council’s payroll without following the due process or obtaining confirmation from the Establishment Committee.
“His son, Mr. Bai Sait Jeng, is on the council’s payroll and found collecting Council revenue, which has never been submitted to the Council. I further have every reason to believe that, that was not the first time his son had done such and would have continued to do the same if not sheer luck for the Council and the patriotic citizens of the region, who have reported him to us, we would have never known about his collection,” Darboe said.
He stated that the council was unaware as to whether Bai SaitJeng had rendered an account of the monies that “he had been collecting”. Darboe said Bai Sait’s name was not on the list of the council’s revenue collectors.
“I further do not know how many other people are engaging in such dubious activities in cahoots with the DFS without the Council’s knowledge,” he said.
The BAC chair stated in the memo that the DFS deliberately made sure that his son, Sulayman Jeng, and nephew, MalickJeng, were unduly given the responsibility for collecting revenuefrom the most lucrative revenue bases of the council.
“Additionally, under his watch as DFS, his brother-in-law, Omar Saidykhan, has been responsible for withdrawals of over D5,000.00 in 2023 alone, which have not been accounted for, meaning they were withdrawals, which were not backed by vouchers to justify them. The internal Audit, as part of their assignment by the General Council Resolution of July 2023, made several requests to justify such withdrawals but to no avail,” the BAC Chair wrote.
“We further believe Mr. Jeng, either deliberately or otherwise, failed to hold his revenue collectors accountable for their deliberate refusals to account for their weekly collection. This has now forced the council to make late payments of salaries and on that current trend; we will soon be forced to default on salary payments. Thus, urgent action is needed to remove Mr. Jeng from his post to thoroughly investigate Mr. Jeng, and to put his department for the progress of this council,” he added.
Darboe said Sulayman Jeng was employed as a result of his relations with the DFS.
“Sulayman has also been implicated in the fraudulent collection of his brother Bai Sait Jeng. Sulayman has also failed to make any submissions for September 2023. This means he has been suppressing revenue for September resulting in our late payment of salaries,” Darboe said.
The memo also said Malick Jeng was also employed through his relations with the DFS.
“Despite being responsible for the collection of valued properties, Malick only accounted for D6,000 on 16th August 2023 and D2,000.00 on 24th August 2023. This is the only D7,000.00 he accounted for in the whole month of August 2023 and made Zero (0) submissions in the whole month of September 2023. Therefore, by suppressing our ability to pay salaries and register any development in this country,” Darboepointed out.
The memo stated that Omar Saidykhan was also employed by the council thanks to his relations to the DFS.
“Mr. Saidykhan also made the following withdrawal from the council’s Vista Account on 7th June 2023: D72, 000.00; D63, 000.00; D450, 000.00; D450, 000.00; D67, 500.00; on 8th June 2023: D125, 000.00. In GT Bank: 13th June D 71, 000.00 on 15th June 2023 D1, 700,000.00; D 1,000,000.00. These withdrawals for June alone 2023 are all unaccountable. Thus, he needs to be immediately suspended pending a thorough investigation,” Darboe stated.
Darboe said Bai Sait Jeng was enrolled on the Council’s payroll because of his relations with his father.
“His issue came to the attention of the council after he was reported to a council for collecting license revenue from the council. The particular member of the Council intercepted him, during which he confirmed that he was collecting the Council’s revenue. However, his name is not on the list of the council’s revenue collectors and thus was never accountable to the council’s auditors and has never made any payments to the council for any revenues he had collected,” the memo read.
The memo continued: “When Bai Sait Jeng was summoned by the Finance Committee, he confessed that he is not a Council staff and does not receive a Council salary, despite him being on the payroll and being paid every month. On the collection of revenue, he claims he has been accompanying his brother Sulayman Jeng. However, on the date in question that he was caught collecting he was not with his brother, Sulayman Jeng. Thus his account of what is happening is not accurate and the fact he is on our payroll without his knowledge is very implicating for his father, Alhagie Jeng”.
According to the memo, the acting manager of the license Ebrima Jallow has already submitted a separate report to the establishment committee, regarding his involvement in the printing of revenue invoices outside of the council without the knowledge of the procurement department.
“This is a clear violation of all the protocols and rules. Mr. Ebrima Jallow is also found to have enrolled his son, Mr. Muhammed Ebrima Jallow, on the Council’s payroll, who is receiving salaries, but has never worked for the Council,”Darboe said.
The memo read that Ebrima Jallow received license fees thatwere not rendered to the Council.
“Mr. Ebrima Jallow also confirms that he has been collecting in the field but has not been accounting such revenues to the council as his name is not on the audit weekly collectors’ list. He claimed to be doing this in line with Sulayman Jeng. Still, Sulayman has not been paying anything to the council and has only made a total payment of only D12,000 to the Council for August and September (31 August 2023 – D9,000.00 and 7 September 2023),” Darboe said.
The memo stated that Muhammed Ebrima Jallow is on thecouncil’s payroll because his father put him there.
“Thus, I recommend that his name be removed from our payroll immediately,” he said.
Meanwhile, seven more license revenue collectors have been recommended for suspension by the BAC chair and they include Alfusainey Colley, Assan Jassey, Binta Fatty, Buba Jabang,Famara Sanyang, Kebba Jammeh and Momodou LaminSaidykhan.
“All these collectors are found to have suppressed our revenue for August and September 2023. For example for the period of 31st August 2023 – 6th September 2023,” Darboe said.
Alfusainey Colley, according to Darboe, claimed to have collected D44,000.00 and paid it into the council’s ECO bank account but the ECO Bank Account Statement for the same period proved that he only paid D14,000.00 there.
Darboe said Assan Jassey claimed to have collected D300, 000.00 and paid the money into the council’s ECO bank account but that the ECO Bank account statement for the same period proved that he only paid D0.00 into the account.
The memo read that Binta Fatty claimed to have collected D23,000.00 and paid it into the council’s ECO bank account but the account statement for the same period proved that he only paid D13,000.00 there.
Darboe said Buba Jabang claimed he collected D23,000.00 and paid it into the BAC’s ECO bank account but the account statement for the same period proved that he only paid D0.00 there.
The chairman stated that Famara Sanyang claimed that hecollected D135, 000.00 and paid it into BAC’s ECO bank account but that the account statement for the same period proved that he only paid D0.00 into the account.
Darboe said Kebba Jammeh claimed to have collected D61,000.00 and paid the money into the council’s ECO bank account but the account statement for the same period showedthat he only paid D46, 000.00 there.
The BAC chair stated that Modou Lamin Saidykhan claimed to have collected D71, 000.00 and paid the money into the council’s ECO bank account, but the account statement for the same period proved that he only paid D46, 000.
Darboe said in his memo that Sulayman Jeng claimed to have collected D423, 000.00 and paid it into the council’s ECO bank account, but the account statement for the same period showedthat he only paid D3, 000.00 there.
“And the same trend has happened for the whole month of September and August is even worse. Thus, I would recommend for the above persons to be suspended without leave with immediate effect: Mr. Sulayman Jeng; Mr. Malick Jeng; Mr. Omar Saidykhan; Bai Sait Jeng; Ebrima Jallow; Muhammed Ebrima Jallow. We further recommend the suspension of the seven revenue collectors, pending the successful transfer of their collected data to their succeeding officers. The Director of Finance has notified the Chairman’s office that he has sought a request for transfer to another Municipal Council,” the chairman explained.
The BAC establishment and appointment committee said:“TheEstablishment and Appointment Committee in its commitment to reform Brikama Area Council is hereby making endorsement for the Recommendation of the Honorable Chairman to send the following people on immediate Administrative Leave. Concerning the MEMO from the Chairman’s office dated 04th October 2023, the following Staff of the finance department is affected; Mr. Alagie Jeng Director of Finance Mr. SulaymanJeng=Collector Mr. Malick Jeng Mr. Omar Saidykhan Bai SaitJeng Ebrima Jallow Muhammed Ebrima Jallow The Establishment and Appointment Committee of Council have also studied the report from the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee Report has revealed dubious transactions and revenue suppression on the part of the above-mentioned Staff”.
“Reports also have revealed that Some License Collectors have deliberately suppressed Council revenue. The Establishment Committee has resolved to invite all the seven affected Collectors on Wednesday 11th October. The affected staff are as follows: Alfusainey Colley; Assan Jassey; Binta Fatty; BubaJabang; Famara Sanyang; Kebba Jammeh and Momodou LaminSaidykhan,” the committee said.