Basse Area Council: Witness says Finance Director was given Council’s Revenue

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By Makutu Manneh

Revenue Collectors at Basse Area Council have told the Bah Commission that Lamin Suso, Director of Finance, has collected council’s funds from them.

They admitted that they are supposed to deposit the monies they collect at the bank, but sometimes the Finance Director took the monies from them.

Sorri Sillah, a revenue collector at Basse Area Council, said there was a day he went with Soma Jallow to collect council’s revenue, but upon their return, the Finance Director requested the money from them, which they complied with.

“We collected sixteen thousand two hundred and fifty Dalasi on this day. When Suso told me to give him the money, I told him the money was with Soma. I relate this to Soma. I went to the IT room and when I came out; Soma told me she gave the money to Lamin Suso,” he disclosed.

He said he was not happy with this because it was not supposed to happen that way, as they were to deposit the money to the bank.

Sillah said he demanded Suso to deliver the money back, but he just gave him a receipt.

“This is regrettable; we don’t expect him to collect the money because this has never happened. This was my first and last time of giving council’s money to the finance director and I never paid money into his account,” Sillah said.

He denied all possibilities of him conniving with the Finance Director to get money.

Mr Lamin Manneh, also a revenue collector of the council, said he gave fifty-three thousand Dalasi worth of council’s money to the Finance Director.

He said there was a time when the Finance Director informed him that businesses were not willing to make their payments, and in this case, he (Lamin Suso) assigned him to go and do the collection.

He added he collected nine thousand Dalasi (D9, 000) and Suso took the cash from him informing him that the Council was in need of money to take care of some commitments.

Manneh said on Saturday, 19 June 2021, he received a call from the Finance Director asking him to assess revenue collection because they needed money to provide fuel for the NDMA team working on the Basse Road, which was in a deplorable condition.

“On this day, I did the collection with the Finance Director (Suso) using his vehicle. We collected nineteen thousand, five hundred Dalasi (D19,500).

“By then, I was not aware that I should not give the Director the money. I was doing it, as he was my immediate boss. I thought that was my boss and whatever he asks me to do, I should do,” he explained.

He further informed the commission that the following Sunday, Suso called him again and authorized him to make collection from donkey cart owners.

He added that the Finance Director took the three hundred Dalasi he collected from each donkey cart owner.

“When I came to the Office, I insisted that the money should be refunded because I already printed the digital receipts,” he said.

He added that the Finance Director has also collected money from his assistant Sulayman Bah during his absence.

According to the witness, Mr Sulayman Bah informed him that Suso had taken the money he collected from him.

However, upon his return, he told the Finance Director to refund the money eleven thousand five hundred Dalasi (D11, 500), which was done and deposited into the Council’s bank account.