Revenue Manager Fails to Account for Missing Brikama Area Council Revenue

36

By Makutu Manneh

Mustapha Joof, the Acting Manager responsible for valued properties at the Brikama Area Council (BAC) continued with his denial of allegations of revenue suppression but in the end, he could not provide evidence before the Commission to justify his claims.

Joof’s claim was that he had deposited all the revenues he collected as a revenue collector before his promotion to the level of manager. He first appeared on Monday and left the Commission with the claim that his cash book has the records to support his testimony that he was depositing monies he collected in the accounts of the BAC. On his second appearance, Tuesday, he came with another cash book and maintained his line of argument that he did not suppress revenue. He testified that he had deposited all the funds he collected.

The witness provided a cash book covering 2020 to 2024. It was tendered and admitted in evidence. Earlier, the witness provided his cash book covering 2018 and 2019, which was also admitted in evidence. This means his cash books covering the period 2018 to 2024 are in evidence.

It was the turn of the witness to provide the Commission evidence contrary to the finding of the auditors to show that he had deposited the Council’s funds. Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez questioned the witness based on his two cash books, the bank statements of the Brikama Area Council and the audit queries by the Internal Audit Unit of the BAC against the witness.

What became evident and clear was that there was no trace of any deposits of the audit query in any of the accounts of the Brikama Area Council.

The Internal Audit Unit of the Council in 2020 indicated that the witness suppressed an amount of Two Hundred and Forty-Eight Thousand, Four Hundred and Twenty-One Dalasi, Eighty-Nine Butut (D248,421.89). In his written statement, the witness said he was able to reconcile Two Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, Four Hundred and Twenty-One Dalasi Eighty-Nine Butut (D218,421.89) with the investigators, which has been audited by the Internal Audit Unit and receipted by the Principal Cashier of the Council. The witness claimed that he was issued receipts by the Principal Cashier of the Council.

He was asked by Counsel Gomez as to how the audit was done to arrive at the amount of D218,421.89. Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez also asked the witness to show the Commission evidence in his two cash books receipts he obtained from the Principal Cashier. The witness checked and could not provide receipts. He then came up with another version of his testimony saying the receipt was not one, adding that there were several receipts. He was still allowed by the Commission to check again and this was when he began mentioning figures from one of his cash books. He was allowed to do the calculations, but that could not avail him since the figures were not the same.

The witness, despite not having proof from his cash book, insisted that he deposited the money in the bank accounts of the Brikama Area Council. He made this statement after he was informed by Counsel Gomez that the cash books have no bank deposits and they do not have the receipts from the Council to support his claim. He later testified that he does not have bank deposit slips as he always deposits his collections to the Principal Cashier.

The witness was provided with the bank statements of all the accounts of Brikama Area Council in the different banks to check. This was to give him the benefit of doubt. After checking, he informed the Commission that he did not see the deposits.

“This means you don’t deposit the money,” Counsel Gomez told the witness.

“No, I deposited it, but I cannot see them in the bank statements,” he said.

The witness was at this point informed by Chairperson Jainaba Bah that the statements were provided by the bank and they were all original statements admitted in evidence.

The witness still insisted that he deposited the money in the accounts of the Council even though the account statements provided by the banks did not support his claim.

Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez moved to another issue, which was his records and deposits for December 2020. The witness checked his two cash books and all the different bank accounts of the Brikama Area Council to confirm whether he made any deposits in that period. The witness, even though he could not provide evidence of the deposits from the bank statements of the Brikama Area Council, he insisted that he deposited all the funds.

“To be honest, I checked it from all the bank accounts but it is not there,” the witness said.

“Where is the money?” Counsel Patrick Gomez asked.

“I deposited it in the bank account,” the witness replied.

“It is embarrassing for you to sit and claim that you deposited the money when the bank accounts do not show the same,” Gomez told the witness.

Chairperson Jainaba Bah informed the witness that the audit reports indicated that he was engaged in revenue suppression. The witness did not dispute the audit finding saying “They could be right”. He was instructed to provide evidence concerning all the audit findings against him on or before Monday next week. 

Counsel Gomez asked the witness several transactions which were not audited by the internal auditors. The witness admitted that those transactions were not audited.

“You were not going for auditing because you knew they know how much you collected through the revenue collection device,” the witness answered.

The witness tried to justify his claim that he was depositing the monies collected even though the bank statements showed that he was not depositing the monies. He was informed by the Counsel that he was not truthful since his cash book and the bank statements provide evidence contrary to his claim. 

“You do not have receipts in your cash book to account for these monies. By Monday you will appear in person to provide the deposit slips for all the deposits you made,” Counsel Gomez said.

Chairperson Bah told the witness that he would be required to come with all his deposit slips to justify his claim that he deposited the monies in the accounts of the Council.