By Mama A. Touray
Malafi Badjie who has been acting as Finance Manager of the Basse Area Council for seven years on Tuesday testified before the ongoing Local Government Commission of Inquiry at Djembe Hotel, Kotu.
The witness statement was shown to him and he confirmed it to the deputy lead counsel Patrick Gomez who had tendered the statement and Chairperson Jainaba Bah admitted it into evidence.
Malafi Badjie, a resident of Basse and the acting Finance Manager from 2016 to date testified that he has no formal financial training background and that he started working with the Director of Finance Lamin Susso in 2021.
Malafi Badjie said his job is to supervise revenue collectors and that he does not have the mandate to go over yard owners but instead the alkalos do that and report to them (council).
He said when collectors are not bringing collection or not forthcoming he does go to the field to assess.
He said normally when collectors collect from the field, they are instructed to come to the council for reconciliation.
Mr. Badjie was quick to disclose that collectors are not allowed to keep monies with themselves for days or so, but notwithstanding, he said some collectors are 50km away from Basse so it’s hard for them to report to the council daily.
He testified further that the Rates and Taxes collectors report to him directly while license collectors will report to MomodouLamin Keru before they report to him for confirmation.
He said about three years ago the council had an internal audit unit headed by Isatou Saho.
When he was asked by the deputy lead council about who prepares the financial statement, the witness responded that Director of Finance Lamin Susso prepares the financial statements.
Deputy Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez said to the witness “You do not have a proper structure and you don’t know your responsibilities as well”.
The witness agreed stating that “Anything we do at the department is directed by the Director of Finance.”
Meanwhile, the Balance Sheet rates and taxes dated July arear of 2020, 2021, and 2022 and the balance sheet trade license 31st December 2022 were tendered by Deputy Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez and admitted in bundle as evidence by ChairpersonJainaba Bah.
The witness said while he was sick and away from work auditors came to the council and he found members of the council responding to audit queries but he did not answer.
When put to him that, the decision he took wasn’t good he responded” I should have responded then but I did not and that is not a good decision from my side”.