By Makutu Manneh
Mr Malafi Badjie, the Acting Finance Manager for Basse Area Council (BsAC) on Tuesday, 12 August admitted before the Local Government Commission that he lacked the competency to serve in his current portfolio.
He added that he has no formal education in finance and accounting while further informing the commission that he has been acting as the finance manager for seven (7) years and he is still being paid allowances for acting in the said position.
Responding to Commissioner Joiner, Badjie said he does not have the capacity to produce financial statements, income statements, and balance sheets, adding that as the finance manager, he has never prepared a financial statement for the council.
He told the commission that it is the finance director who prepares all these documents. However, he said the Auditors’ Report indicated that since 2016, Basse Area Council has not been producing financial statements.
“You don’t have the qualifications to be in this position so they just kept you there to hang on your head. You take directives with no questioning,” Commissioner Joiner submitted to the witness.
When quizzed by Commissioner Oreme E. Joiner whether he is aware that one cannot be acting for more than 6 months, Badjie replied that he knows and that he had written to the then Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Council but could not confirm whether the CEO forwarded his letter to the Local Government Service Commission.
Badjie said the finance director has assigned him on several occasions to deposit and withdraw money from his Allahtentu Account, adding that depositing and withdrawing monies from finance director Suso’s personal account was normal as he had informed him that he was into land businesses.
However, he testified that there was a time when he asked Suso where he was getting this money and Suso told him that it was his personal money.
According to the witness, sometime around 17 September 2021, the finance director assigned him to collect seven hundred thousand from his Allahtentu Eco Bank Account and deposit it in the Council’s Trust Bank Account.
“I did that and I believe the management is aware of this deposit,” he said.
Badjie told the commission that sometimes he goes with revenue collectors for collection, but he never handles the money personally as he just goes there to supervise and monitor the work of the collectors.
He disagreed with the Internal Auditors’ findings that he went with finance director Suso to collect revenue, especially during weekends without the knowledge of the Council’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
“I never responded to this finding and I should have done that because it hasn’t happened,” he insisted.
He testified that it is correct that he did not attend the auditors’ first meeting with the Basse Area Council.
The Local Government Commission is currently investigating the conduct of local government Councils from 2018 to 2023.