BAC’s Acting Deputy License Manager Admits Misusing Petty Cash

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By Makutu Manneh 

Lamin S. Jatta, acting deputy license manager at the Brikama Area Council, has informed members of the Local Government Commission of Inquiry that he bought a motorcycle from the Council’s petty cash. 

He further admitted that he bought the motorcycle based on instructions of the Finance Director, Alagie Jeng. 

“I lodged a complaint to the Director of Finance and the CEO, and I bought the motorcycle in Brikama based on instructions from the Director of Finance,” the witness said.

Jatta said the receipt of the purchase was handed to the Director of Finance while he kept the other documents including ownership of the motorcycle.

He said he bought the motorcycle for Council’s use but was told by Councilor Sunkary Camara that even if the motorcycle was bought for the Council’s use, he was not the right person to do the purchase. Witness Jatta concurred and admitted what Counsel Camara said.

At this juncture, Finance Director Jeng, who appeared together with Jatta before Commissioners, denied authorizing Jatta to purchase the motorcycle and said Jatta expended Council’s funds without authorization and then brought the receipt to them.

Jeng said after Jatta made the purchase of the motorcycle, he decided to turn his mistake into a loan even though he knew what he did was wrong.

Witness Jatta argued that he had obtained instructions to spend the money for the purchase of the motorcycle.

“You do not have to obtain an order to do an illegal act,” Lead Counsel Gomez told Lamin S. Jatta, and in his reply, the witness accepted.

Witness Jatta also denied taking the purchase as a loan, adding that the only loan he applied for was a building loan in 2021, in the sum of D150,000 through the Council’s Credit Union facility which he said he was still servicing.

The Commission gave the two witnesses a day to provide them with documents on the loan details.

Continuing with his testimony, Jatta told Commissioners that he deposits collected revenue at the bank but he sometimes deposits the funds with the Council’s principal Director. He said even though instruction from the Council is for all deposits to be made at the bank, his line manager in the person of Omar Darboe used to authorise him to pay the cash at the principal cashier, Lamin Kantong Kanteh.

The witness was asked to provide clarity on his cash book transactions that were banked and those that were handed over to the Principal Cashier. The cash books he provided did not have deposit slips from the bank, and some transactions were not traced in the bank statement regarding collected funds that the witness said were handed to the Principal Cashier. 

Continuing his testimony, Lamin S. Jatta further claimed that sixteen collectors work under the Licensing Unit and that based on his calculations, the Unit collected over 35.8 Million Dalasi for the Council.

Counsel S. Camara informed the witness that from the 7th to the 13th of July 2022, he collected twelve thousand, five hundred Dalasi (D12,500) without going for auditing and without a trace of a deposit from the accounts of the Council. The witness showed the recordings from his cash book and provided a receipt he obtained dated 14th July 2022. The witness said he used to deposit collected revenue in three bank accounts i.e. Eco Bank, GT Bank, and Trust Bank. The witness was given the statement of accounts of the Brikama Area Council from the three banks, and after checking the three accounts, the witness said his deposit was not traced.

“Since it is not in the account, it means I deposited the money with the Cashier,” the witness said.

Counsel S. Camara gave the witness the lodgment roll of the Brikama Area Council to check, and he admitted that he did not sign the lodgment log book and was listed as absent.

“You did not pay the money in the accounts, and you did not give the money to the cashier,” Counsel Camara told the witness.

“If I did not deposit the money, it means I gave the money to the Cashier,” the witness said.

“That is not true. You did not sign the lodgment log, and you were absent. So you did not deposit the money in the bank, and you did not pay to the cashier. Tell us what you did with the money,” Counsel Camara asked the witness.

The witness however was firm in his reply and repeated the same answer. 

Counsel Camara provided the witness another lodgment log from the BAC showing that the witness signed the log and deposited in another transaction.

The witness was asked about the sum of D79,000 collection he made between the 3rd and the 9th of March 2022, to which he admitted and claimed that he deposited the whole amount in the Eco Bank account. He was given the Eco Bank statement to tell the Commission how much he deposited, but after checking, the witness said he deposited D73,000. The witness testified that he had repaid the suppressed value into the Council’s account after he was informed about it. 

“There must be a mistake from the bank and not from me,” the witness said.

“No, it is you,” Counsel S. Camara said.

The witness provided his cash book based on his request, and the Commission noted that he paid the D73,000 on the 3rd of March, a period queried by the auditors. 

After doing his calculations, the witness said the total collection he made between the 3rd and the 9th of March 2022 was one hundred and nine thousand Dalasi (D109,000). He further claimed that he deposited seventy-three thousand Dalasi (D73,000) on the 10th of March 2022, and blamed the bank. At this point, the hearing was adjourned till Wednesday 22, 2024.

Sittings continues.