Revenue Collector KSJ Admits Misusing Brikama Area Council Funds

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By Makutu Manneh

Kebba Sanna Jatta, a resident of New Yundum and a revenue collector for the Brikama Area Council (BAC appeared before the Local Government Commission of Inquiry on Monday, 25th March 2024. He admitted to the audit finding against him that he did not deposit all the funds he collected as a revenue collector. 

He began his career in the BAC in 1994/95. He said in 2018, he was a rates and tax collector deployed at Busumbala. Since 2019, the witness has been working under the Value Property Unit and is currently responsible for Sanchaba Sulay Jobe. He is still a value property collector.

The written statement of the witness dated 16 November 2023 was tendered and admitted in evidence by the Commission’s Chairperson, Senior Lawyer Jainaba Bah.

When asked about the work of the Value Property Unit, the witness said the unit is part of the Finance Unit of the Council and they collect revenue from taxable properties. He added that the properties pay Two Thousand Dalasi (D2,000) for residential properties and Five Thousand Dalasi (D5,000) for commercial properties. 

He testified that he used to appear before the Internal Auditors of the BAC for auditing. The witness said they were using GTR books to issue receipts until in 2020 when revenue collection devices were introduced. He added that he used to deposit monies he collected in the Trust Bank and FIBank now called Vista Bank.

The witness was examined about some of the shortages in his submissions. He was asked about the Eight Thousand Dalasi (D8,000) he did not deposit in the BAC bank accounts. Shortage here means the collector either submitted less than what was collected or the person does not deposit the money in the bank. The witness admitted that he did not deposit the D8,000 in the account of the Council.

“It happened,” the witness said in admission.

“Why is that?” Counsel Gomez asked the witness.

The witness was silent. The Counsel asked again.

“It did not happen in a day. It happens when I have shortages of D100, D200 and D500 (accumulating to D8,000) on different days,” the witness explained.

“Why will you have a shortage?” Counsel Patrick Gomez asked.

“That is not normal,” the witness said.

“We know it is not normal. That is what we want to understand,” Gomez said.

“I used the money for my family issues. I know that it is not normal,” the witness said.

“But you are paid a salary,” Counsel Gomez told the witness.

“Yes, I know,” the witness said.

“What family issues would lead you to use public funds like this?” Counsel Gome asked.

“Anyway, I know it is not normal,” the witness answered. 

The witness claimed that he used to go for weekly submission at the Internal Audit Unit. He was confronted with the reports of the Internal Audit Unit indicating that the witness was not coming for weekly reconciliation. 

“Your name has been appearing numerous times in the list of absentees. That you have not been appearing before the Internal Audit Unit,” Counsel Patrick Gomez told the witness.

“Yes,” the witness answered.

“Why were you not appearing before the Internal Audit Unit for reconciliation?” Gomez asked.

“That is not normal,” the witness answered.

“You are supposed to appear consistently,” Gomez said.

“Yes,” the witness said.

The witness provided his cash book covering February 2022 to date. It was tendered and admitted in evidence. 

On the 21st November 2022, the lodgment report indicated that the witness did not go to the council for reconciliation. 

“Your name constantly appears in the lodgment register as someone who does not come for reconciliation,” Counsel Gomez told the witness.

“Yes, it is true,” the witness said.

“What do you do with the money you collected? Gomez asked.

“Sometimes we submit the money in the bank and we do not reconcile with the Internal Audit Unit,” the witness said.

He was asked by Counsel Patrick Gomez to list his collections in November 2022 from his cash book. He only mentioned a Ten Thousand Dalasi (D10,000) and began dilly-dallying. 

“That is not true. There is no trace of your collections for November 2022,” Counsel Gomez said.

The witness was silent and did not respond.

“You do not have records of August, September and October 2022 in your cash book. Why that?” Gomez asked.

The witness admitted that he did not record the collections in the cash book.

“Why were you not entering the records of the collections in your cash book?” Chairperson Bah asked.

The witness repeated his answer that he did not record the collections in his cash book. 

“What prevented you from putting the information in your own cash book?” Chairperson Bah asked.

The witness was silent for a moment and then stated that he did not understand how to use the revenue collection device. He was told that was not enough to stop him from entering his collections in his cash book. 

The witness provided some receipts from Eco Bank, GTBank and Trust Bank to show his deposits in the Council’s account. 

“Why will you not record your collections from February to December 2022?” Counsel Gomez asked.

“During this time, my cash book was misplaced by the auditor and the Finance Director,” the witness said.

“How did that happen?” Gomez asked.

“The auditors requested for my cash book and I gave them. When I came for it, I was told it was with the Finance Director,” the witness said.

With further questions, the witness said he was sick at the time.

“When were you sick?” Counsel Gomez asked.

“I cannot remember exactly,” the witness said.

The Counsel told the witness that he collected Thirty Thousand in July 2022 and did not deposit it.

“I cannot remember this amount,” the witness said.

“How will you know the people you collected from?” Counsel Gomez asked.

“I would not know unless I record it in my cash book,” the witness said.

Chairperson Bah informed the witness that there were alterations in the dates on the receipts. He was asked how comes, but the witness said he does not know. 

“How can we know whether the receipts are authentic? Why is it altered? It is similar in the order of receipts?” Chairperson Bah asked.

“It is the cashier who normally does that,” the witness.

The Commission noted that some of the deposits do not have correspondent receipts from the Council. The witness said sometimes the cashier does not give them receipts.

“How do you do your reconciliation then to account for the monies you collected from taxpayers?” Chairperson Jainaba Bah asked.

The witness did not answer the question as he repeated his previous answer that sometimes the cashier does not give him receipts. He will reappear before the Council on a further date.