By Makutu Manneh
Mr Bai Gibbi Sallah, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Basse Area Council (BsAC), has informed the Local Government Commission of Inquiry (LGCI) that they do not have control over their staff regarding the day-to-day work of the council.
“Some staff are coming and others are not coming. The Revenue Collectors will say they don’t have fuel or transport to go for collection,” he said, adding that it is “really difficult” at the Council.
He said they had paid the salary for June, but had not paid for July, August, and September 2023, noting that he and the Chairman sometimes use their personal money to motivate the staff.
Sallah further told the Commission that the Basse Area Council owed Trust Bank over nine hundred thousand Dalasi, over five million Dalasi to Supersonicz, and also over six million Dalasi to Vista Bank.
He said they owed over Twelve Million, Five Hundred and seventy-three thousand eight hundred and forty-five Bututs “D12, 573, 845.40) through overdraft.
“If the government did not step in, there is no way forward. I spoke to one of the FPAC Committee members for them to make a resolution to help the Council,” he said.
According to the witness, the Council was operating seven different bank accounts, which he said was unnecessary.
Sallah said the Council has now reduced the accounts to three as they have closed the Agib Bank, GTBank, and EcoBank accounts.
He said they cannot close Vista Bank and Supersonic because they still owe them while further revealing that
BsAC’s Trust Bank account is the account they are now using for saving the council’s revenues, adding that they use the monies received from car park fees to clear the deficit at the Trust Bank. He testified that they have raised about a million from car park fees.
According to Sallah, they were able to pay the Basse Area Council loan at Trust Bank with only three Million Dalasi remaining in that account, including a two million government subsidy.
Sallah further told the Commission that they are trying to pay off the overdrafts as his leadership was able to lower the burden. He went on to say that the salary payroll of the Council is not consistent because the salary payment keeps on changing, making it difficult to know the whole staff of the Council.
He testified that the number of documented revenue collectors is 25, but when they called for meetings, only 15 people appeared.
“We cannot ascertain whether the rest exist or work for the Council, now we have introduced weekly reporting of Revenue Collectors,” he said.
Mr Sallah also informed the Inquiry that they have observed that the information 5C Energy provided them with was usually different from what they get from the ground.
He said the Council owes 5C Energy a lot of money, adding that when he took over from the former CEO, he received an invoice of 2.2 million Dalasi.
He explained that the agreement between 5C Energy and the Council is based on profit sharing ratio; Sallah said the Council provided an estimated revenue for 2023 of Fifty-Five Million Dalasi and 5C is charging based on that.
The witness said the contract between BsAC and 5C does state the ratio or percentage of sharing. He said they are planning to enter re-negotiation with their partners.
“Fifty-five million is too high because we know very well that we cannot generate Fifty-Five million,” he said.
He said there was no debtors register and no reports to guide them and that people are still making claims to the Council which are difficult to ascertain because there are no debtors register.