By Mama A. Touray
A witness has said at the ongoing LG Commission that the finance director at the Basse Area Council(BsAC) could have been lynched if the people of Basse had no respect for the rule of law.
Soma Jallow Thursday narrated at the commission’s sitting that: “If not for the respect for the law, we the people of Basse will beat Suso to death. Mr. Lamin Suso stole all our money. He ate all our money and the council is bankrupt. Any money you deposit in the bank sinks. Basse Area Council has failed to pay our 3-month salary,” she told the commission.
Senior revenue collector Mrs. Soma Jallow was the third revenue collector from BsAC to appear before the LGCI as a witness.
She recalled a particular Friday when she said the finance director directed her to accompany one Sorrie Sillah to a particular area in Garawol.
Mrs. Jallow explained that she was deployed alongside Sillahbecause he had complained that he could not simultaneously handle the machine, printing, and collecting the money.
She informed the commission that they collected D16,250 in Garawol but said Sorrie’s phone rang as they were returning to Basse and it was the finance director at the other end.
“I heard him saying Director we have collected and we are on our way coming,” the witness recounted.
According to her, Sorrie rushed to the office of finance director Suso upon their arrival in Basse and when he emerged from the office, he asked her to surrender the D16,250 to Suso.
“He told me Aja, go and give the money to Director,” Mrs. Jallow stated. She was, however, quick to add: “I did not ask him why I should give finance director Suso the money because I only went to help and the receipts were in his name. If the auditors come, they are going to audit Sillah and not me.”
The witness further narrated that the CEO of BsAC, OusmanTouray, later summoned her to a meeting, where she explained her side of the story. She pointed out that the CEO was not happy with her. Present at the meeting, she went on, were the CEO, the internal auditor, the councilors among others.
“Lamin Suso apologized to us. He said he would repay the money. We were all sitting there. The CEO and the councilors were all there,” Jallow told the commission.
She testified that Sillah was not truthful in his testimony when he mentioned that he was not the one who instructed her (Soma) to hand over the money to Suso.
She added that Sillah was also not truthful when he testified that he did not receive a call from finance director Suso.
“Sorrie Sillah came with his cashbook here but he did not want the commission to know that he has it with him,” the witness revealed.
She told the commission that she was aware of some incidents in which Suso collected money from revenue collectors but declined to elaborate.
“I cannot explain,” she told the commission.