Revenue Collector Famara Sanyang Failed to Account for Alleged Suppressed BAC Funds

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By Makutu Manneh

Famara Sanyang, a valued property revenue collector for the Brikama Area Council was on Wednesday, 8 May questioned about revenue suppression from 1st of April to 7th of June 2022.

The suppressed amount was Two Hundred and Ninety-Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty Dalasi (D292,250).

The alleged suppression was detailed in the 2022 Second Quarter audit report prepared by the BAC Internal Audit Unit indicating that the witness suppressed the funds during the period1st April to 6th July 2022.

His witness statement dated 24th of February 2024 was tendered and admitted in evidence. He testified that in 2018 he was under the Trade Unit; from 2019 to date, he is under the Licence Unit.

The witness brought his cash book for 2020 with the claim that he was not told to bring his other cash books. He was asked to come with the other cash books tomorrow. A review of the cash book indicated that the cash book covers 2020 to 2023. He was asked to bring the cash books for 2018 and 2019.

On the alleged suppression, the witness testified that he was not aware of the audit finding against him and he only came to know about it through the investigators working in the Commission. 

He was given his cash book for him to show the Commission his recordings for the period the alleged suppression took place. He checked and said he began his recording on 7th April. He testified that he made only three (3) recordings in his cash book. This means the recordings were not recorded by him. The digital revenue collection device indicated that he collected the amount. He confirmed that he made the collection with the claim that he deposited the money in the Eco Bank account of the BAC.

Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez informed the witness that during this period he was using a revenue collection device to do his collections. The witness confirmed the statement. The devices are automated such that once a transaction is done using it, the people in the office can see and know how much is collected and the person who is using it. 

The witness was asked again about the bank he used to deposit the funds and he replied by saying Eco Bank. He mentioned that he deposited Ten Thousand, Five Hundred Dalasi (D10,500), but he did not have a deposit slip. He said he deposited Twenty-Six Thousand and Five Hundred Dalasi (D26,500.

The witness was handed the Eco Bank statement of the Council to show the Commission his deposits on the stated dates as captured in his GTR Receipts issued to him by the Principal Cashier. The procedure was that the collector would have to first deposit in the bank and then use that deposit slip to obtain GTR Receipts. The Commission together with the witness looked at the Eco Bank account statement of Brikama Area Council for the whole of April 2022.

“These monies were paid to the bank but I cannot find it in the statement,” he said.

“Mr. Sanyang then where is the money you collected since it is not in the bank statement?” Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez asked.

“Unless I asked the bank,” the witness said.

Counsel Gomez told him he knew with certainty of his mind that if the money is deposited in the bank, it will reflect in the bank statement. The witness agreed saying he knows that.

He later argued that if he had not deposited the money at the bank, he would not have been able to acquire the receipt from the Principal Cashier of the Council.

“Then produce your bank slip,” Counsel Gomez said.

Witness Sanyang said he left the deposit slips with the cashier while he took home the receipts from the Principal Cashier.

Lead Counsel Gomez confronted the witness on this issue saying “You claim that you used to leave your deposit slips with the Principal Cashier and yet you are having a deposit slip dated the 14th of April 2022.”

“How can you explain that if you say by 2022 you used to leave the deposit slips with the Cashier then why are you having deposit slips in your cashbook for 2021 and some part of 2022?” Lead Counsel Gomez asked.

The witness was silent. Counsel Gomez further told him stealing public money is a crime.

“You think we do not know you make deal with the principal cashier,” Counsel Gomez told the witness.

The witness was asked about another collection he made on the 29th May 2020 amounting to Seventy-Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Fifty Dalasi (D77,345). The witness could not account for it but merely claimed that he deposited it in the bank when the bank statement did not have a record of that deposit. He pointed at a deposit he made in May 2023 while the particular transaction he was being asked was in May 2022.

“You are very dishonest Mr. Sanyang and it will do you no good. You know we are discussing the collection for May 2022 but the collection you telling me is May 2023,” Counsel Gomez told the witness.

The witness was silent and did not say a word. He later said, “I wouldn’t do that, it was an oversight.” He was given time to check with the bank again and said there was no record of the claimed deposit.

Counsel Gomez told him that there was evidence he had made collections in May and June 2022 but the question was why he failed to record in his cash book those collections and why there was no evidence of the money being deposited and no one could trace it. He offered the witness the chance to explain.

“Where is your collection for May and June, Mr Sanyang?” Counsel Gomez asked.

“There was a time I had a funeral, I did not go to work during this period till after 40 days. It might be around that time,” witness Sanyang said.

“That is not true, I just told you there is evidence you made a collection for these months, you had a machine where these recordings will be shown and you also signed the lodgment log,” Counsel Gomez said.

The witness said that is true. He said the commission should allow him to go back to the Council to look for the deposit slips. He is scheduled to return on Thursday (today), 9 May 2024.