By Mama A. Touray
The former director of finance at the Basse Area Council (BsAC), Lamin Suso, on Monday, admitted that he took part in the illegal withdrawals of the council’s Ward Development Funds.
Testifying before the ongoing Local Government Commission of Inquiry on the system audit of the council, Suso said he participated in the withdrawal of D220,000 from the ward development account without following due process. He explained to the commission that former CEO Ousman Touraywas a signatory to the account and that the withdrawal was made by him(Suso).
On the Baja Kunda ward development account, Suso adduced that D75,000 was withdrawn from the account on 2 July 2021, by the former CEO Ousman Touray and the ward councilor. He admitted participating in the withdrawal but said he could not say what the money was spent on.
Asked why the council used ward development funds, Susoreplied that the funds were used because the council had financial constraints.
He pointed out that ward development funds are for ward development initiatives.
Still testifying, Suso said the former CEO and former BsAC vice chairman Yuba Jawara withdrew D100,000 from the Sabi Ward Development Fund on 2 July 2022. He stated that the money was used by the council.
He told the commission that D5000 was withdrawn by ward councilor Ousainou Marena and former CEO Touray on 3 September 2022.
It was flagged in the system report that it’s possible the monies were not used for council purposes but for personal reasons.
“Yes. It’s possible that the money was used for personal reasons,” Suso replied.
He told the commission that money was given to ward councillor Omar Garri to return to the ward development account.
“I cannot ascertain if the ward councilor deposited the money back to the ward development account,” Suso said.
The D100,000 withdrawn from Sabi ward development account, he told the commission, was given to a milling machine seller Kadijatou Jallow under the instruction of the Sabi Ward councilor.
He informed the commission that another D45,000 was withdrawn from a ward development account by the ward councilor of that ward and former CEO. He said the money was later returned to the ward councilor and deposited in the ward development account.
Suso agreed with the system report that flagged that there was no evidence of a refund of the monies withdrawn from the ward development account.
When asked by Commissioner Oremie Joiner as to who informed the council that there were funds in the ward development account, Suso responded: “The ward councilors informed the council that there were monies in the ward development accounts,” he replied.
Suso told the commission that he participated in the unlawful withdrawals but did not advise the council to withdraw money from the ward development accounts.
He said the former Chairman Foday Danjo withdrew D400,000for Nayconf but that the money was refunded.