BAC Procurement Manager Testifies on Council’s Expenses


By Makutu Manneh

Seedou Kunta, procurement manager at the Brikama Area Council has testified before the Local Government Commission of Inquiry on the expenses of the said Council. 

In his testimony, the witness began by first agreeing with Chairperson Jainaba Bah, that it is incorrect as contained in the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) Report that the total value for the procurement activities in 2019 was D8, 029,279.28.

Chairperson Bah told him this above-mentioned amount is way below what was spent on procurement in 2019 based on his budget.

“It can be way below because what is spent on fuel is huge,” the witness said.

“From the actuals in your budget, what is contained in the GPPA report was way below. For example, what you spent on fuel alone was more than D5, 000, 000,” Chairperson Bah told the witness.

“Yes,” the witness answered, and admitted before Commissioners that BAC does not follow procurement rules.

The witness was questioned about the Brikama Area Council’s single source procurement activities for the year 2019, and Kunta replied that the threshold for single sourcing is Twenty Thousand Dalasi (D20, 000).

Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez told the witness that they only focus on the threshold and leave out other essential requirements for single sourcing during procurement, and explained that procurement in this case means goods, works or services.

According to Lead Counsel Gomez, single source for the Brikama Area Council means the identification of one supplier without subjecting the procurement to open tender to enable competition between bidders. The Lead Counsel asserts that the Brikama Area Council was not adhering to the GPPA Act and Regulations when entering single source contracts, but the witness replied that sometimes they adhere to the requirements.

The witness was shown some transactions from the procurement files for him to look into some single source procurement activities.

“The BAC spends a million dalasi or thereabout a month on fuel,” Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez told the witness.

“Yes,” the witness answered and said the BAC spent the above amount.

When asked about the importance of open tender, the witness said it promotes competition, minimises bribery and corruption, and enhances transparency during procurement. Lead Counsel Gomez told the witness that the idea of single sourcing was abused by the Brikama Area Council as contained in the compliance reports of the GPPA, which indicates that the BAC purchased items without any specifications.

The witness said they do market surveys before the budget session adding that these surveys were informal because he has no reports to show that he did them.

Some of the procurement findings against the BAC included purchase of items not part of the procurement loan, procurement above the threshold and without delivery or purchase orders and others.

The witness said the procurement files of the Brikama Area Council are not with him, but instead with the finance unit of the Council. 

“Do you face issues of interference?” Lead Counsel Gomez asked the witness who answered in the positive and replied:

“We do not have it 100% as we wish.”

The witness said he began work at the Brikama Area Council in 2005. The witness statement and a copy of the letter confirming his appointment were both admitted in evidence, and further testified that he started work at the Unit at the Brikama Area Council without any training and no terms of reference for his work.

“I was managing the office on my own with no training. I was doing so with consultation with other procurement officers in other institutions,” the witness said.

Sitting continues.