By Mama A Touray
The former CEO of Basse Area Council (BsAC), OusmanTouray, has agreed that the former BsAC finance director LaminSuso capitalized on a broken system that he found at the BsAC.
He made this admission at the Local Government Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday when the commission’s deputy lead counsel Patrick Gomez put it to him that the non-adherence to procurement rules and other rules was a problem at BsAC before the arrival of Suso as finance director. However, the former CEO said the council’s problem was compounded in 2021 after the assumption of the finance director role by Suso.
The witness said he could recall a D2M subvention from the government, adding that he[ex-CEO] received D100,000 from the money that he later paid. He said the council’s cashier Ndabah Krubally also received D300,000 from the subvention.
He disagreed with the council’s former finance director that he[Suso] spent the D100,000 to pay salaries.
“Lamin Suso told us that he had a problem and we gave him the D100,000 as a loan. It was not a refund for any pre-financing,” Touray stated.
Touray testified that Suso tried to convince him to withdraw the money that the government subvented the council and share it among themselves.
“Lamin Suso told me that when he was working at the BrikamaArea Council, they used to share the subvention,” he added.
Touray said Suso used to refer to him as a man who does not want anything and doesn’t want anyone to have something. This, Touray added, was due to his refusal to share the money as suggested by Suso.
He told the commission that Suso was given the D100,000 loan from the subvention as he wanted to settle personal liabilities.
Still testifying, Touray said the D300,000 given to NdabahKrubally was meant for the settlement of the council’s liability to Supersonics Microfinance.
When asked if payment was made to the Supersonics, Tourayreplied that he could not confirm but said he believed the money was paid to the micro-finance institution.
Chairperson Jainaba Bah interjected at this point and asked the witness whether due process was followed at the time of giving Suso the D100,000 loan. Touray responded that due process was not followed.
The auditors noted that the Basse Area Council was taking loans from different banks without approval from the general council and the Ministry of Regional Government. The former CEO said he used to make the decisions together with the former Chairman (Foday Danjo) and former finance director (LaminSuso).
Touray said the loans were used to pay salaries but when asked to provide evidence, he said he could not.
When put to him that the loans were illegally obtained, Tourayresponded that the loans were obtained in an emergency as salary payments were already due. He was further asked to corroborate his claim but to no avail. However, the commission’s chairperson referred the witness to the Financial Manual on how to obtain loans in the name of the council, and the witness admitted to wrongdoing.
“For me, there was no case of emergency,” counsel Gomez said.
“Yes, you are right,” the witness agreed.
He said the former director of finance [Lamin Suso] was making unauthorized withdrawals, citing an instance where he withdrew D141,000 from the council’s account at Vista Bank’s Brikamabranch.