BCC Mayor Bemoans Reshuffling of Finance Directors

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By: Kebba AF Touray

Rohey Malick Lowe, the Mayor of Banjul City Council (BCC) has described the transfer of Finance Directors as sad.

Mayor Lowe made this reaction yesterday Tuesday 20 February 2024, during her appearance before Members of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) of the National Assembly for the presentation of their activity reports and financial statements.

‘‘It is really sad for some of the Finance Directors after having some of them transferred and being categorically mentioned by the National Audit Office. So, for me, it is like losing trust in the establishment because I cannot understand NAO complaining about issues, and then when you want to get to the root cause of the matter, the finance director or CEO is transferred somewhere else,” she said.

Mayor Lowe said people do not care and would do whatever they want, with the belief that nothing will come out of it.

“So, this is really sad and I will do justice to BCC if I did not mention this issue. For me I really understand the use of the NAO since when they raise issues, the minimum that will happen to CEOs and Financial Director is to be transferred, and I think NAO is here to help us,” she lamented.

She clarified that they are not against transferring Financial Directors, but rather they should allow them to settle their problems with councils’ managements.

“This is really painful and for me, I cannot just sit down and keep quite over this, because it means that I am not doing justice to our establishment and NAO as well,” she said.

She stated that the BCC has a lot of issues and that once the NAO report comes, the reason for her complaint against the transfer of financial directors will be proven. She said there is need for people to recognize and respect the work of NAO, noting that NAO’s reports are now being seen as mere statements contrary to its powers.

She said as a Mayor, she will take decisions such as removing such finance directors from the payroll of the BCC and when Council is engaged by the Local Service Commission, they will provide the reason of the removal of the said director from their council’s payroll.

On the significance of NAO, FPAC Chairperson Hon. Alhagie S Darboe at this stage told the Mayor to table her case to the Select Committee on Regional Government, and informed them that NAO was established by the Constitution of the Gambia and by this act, all entities are supposed to submit their accounts to the National Audit Office three months after the end of every year for auditing annually. He added that when they audit, their audit reports are sent to the National Assembly for scrutiny, consideration and adoption. He said where there are audit queries, the Assembly will take a decision and position on those queries.

“The Assembly will also submit its reports to the relevant authorities such as the Office of the President and the Office of the Inspector General of Police, and where there are issues of fraud, that should be investigated in order to bring the culprits to book,” he said.

NAO, he added, also has powers to take certain cases to the Police, but affirmed that they do not have the prosecuting authority. He affirmed that NAO can forward cases to the Police or the National Assembly for action to be taken.