“Basse Area Council has not paid salaries for over three months because of the loan in 2021. We took a loan of about D15 million and we have to paid that with interest. With our revenue base 2021/2022, we cannot be able to pay that loan and it seriously affects us for not being able to pay our salaries,” Mr Touray told the commission of inquiry.
The witness clarified that the loan was taken by the general council after passing a resolution in 2021 that they needed a loan of D15 million for development.
Touray testified that he was not present during the decision but had later seen the minutes of the general council’s resolution.
The witness admitted to being aware of the Alohungari footbridge project and Sarreh Bojo feeder roads, saying that the loan taken was spent on Sarreh Bojo Road, Sung Kunda Bridge, and Baja Kunda Bridge projects.
Touray also confirmed that no procurement was signed with regard to these projects, emphasising that out of the D15 million loan, D10 million came from Supersonic Microfinance while D5 million from Vista Bank.
The witness, who is part of the budget and finance committee of the council, stated that during budget preparations, they consulted with Village Development Committees, which would give their projects priority areas and then tendered it to the ward development committee for the selection of three priority areas.
“They would then send them to the council and we would do the costing and add it to the budget. We would later call for a general council meeting for the review and approval before it would be sent to the ministry,” he testified.
On how the council generates its revenue, Touray said that the council would generate income from market rates and taxes, government subventions and fixed assets like office premises, vehicles, motorcycles and shop rentals.