Basse Area Council in turmoil
The Basse Area Council (BSAC) has been in turmoil in recent times, resulting to the ward councilors calling on the governor of the Upper River Region (URR) Omar Khan, to prevail on the country’s auditor general to launch a special investigation into the Council to check its financial performance from 1st January to 2nd June 2011.
This decision was made during BSAC’s quarterly assessment meeting held at the Council’s chambers last Tuesday.
Speaking to this reporter at his office, Omar Sampo Ceesay, the chairman of BSAC disclosed that during the meeting, the councilors unanimously agreed and recommended that the Local Government Service Commission sack the following staff of BSAC: Samba Leigh, director of Finance; Omar Njie, internal auditor; and Yusupha Manneh, chief executive officer (CEO); with effect from 1st August, 2011, for failing to provide an audit report after seven months, despite several meetings held by members of the Council. “The most disappointing side of it was that even the Council’s auditor could not even give us one sentence as a report,” he said.
When asked whether there is some witch hunting between the Council and the CEO, Ceesay replied in the negative, stressing there is no problem between them and the three earlier mentioned people. He further stressed that what the councilors need is for the work to be done as it should be. “The CEO is fully aware of what the Local Government Act says and so, he is obliged to be reporting to the chairperson for submission to the Council,” he pointed out,adding that the CEO has never done this since he assumed office.
According to him, the Local Government Act has stipulated very clearly that the CEO as the accounting officer for a council is solely responsible for the general management and submission of financial reports, accounting operations of the council, and to safeguard the council’s assets. “We have written to him (CEO) since the month of May to prepare his report, but he failed to appear at the meeting. Enough is enough, by 1st August this year his position will be vacant and we will look for a capable and reliable person for the betterment of the region. All we want is the truth and what should happen must happen,” Ceesay said.
He also said that the councilors have not been receiving their salaries. “We were informed at the meeting that the CEO has been directed by the auditor general not to pay the councilors their allowances, including the chairperson’s salary for the next 4-5 months. We are writing to the ministry to intervene as soon as possible, because we don’t want to create any noise at this time of the year,” he added.
When contacted to shed light on the issue, the CEO, Yusupha Manneh, declined to talk to this reporter in detail, saying, “I know my work and we shall see”. Asked why he did not attend the said meeting, he replied that he was aware of the meeting, but was busy on other important issues.
Captioned from the Daily Observer Online Newspaper.