Funds were not used for their intended purposes - Accountant General

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Momodou Lamin Bah, the accountant general, yesterday reappeared before the Janneh Commission to give evidence on Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Account, during which he disclosed that funds were not used for their intended purposes.

Dwelling on the said account, he said it was correct that the account was opened by the Department of National Treasury in 2007 and the purpose was to improve poverty reduction.

According to him, when donor agencies disburse funds, they would send a team to assess and know the level of progress. He added that the former government was qualified to receive debt relief, as it relieved the debt burden on the government. Mr. Bah testified that the former government should have met the trigger points to be qualified for the debt relief.

He said some of the monies received from donors were meant to support the budget which was a direct expenditure and that the transaction was not consistent; adding that all expenditures were made as a result of directives from the Ministry of Finance.

At that juncture, Commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, asked him whether the Ministry of Finance was receiving directives from another end, he responded that this was not communicated to him.

According to him, the monies from the donors are usually deposited into a standalone account at the Central Bank and there would be direct expenditure from the account. Documents relating to the account were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

It was put to him by Commissioner Abiosseh George that the funds were not used for their intended purposes and he responded that they were meant to be used for debt reduction but instead they were not. He informed the commissioners that specific expenditures do not feature in the budget.

He further testified that all government funds should form part of the consolidated revenue fund. He confirmed that items spent from the funds were not executed from the budget.

Mr. Bah finally acknowledged that the donor funds were supposed to be managed by his office but rather it was managed by the office of the former president.

Modou Mousa, managing director, First International Bank (FIB), appeared for the second time in relation to Kanilai Family Farm Account and KGI respectively. He said KFF account was opened at the Kanilai branch in 2008 by the former president.

According to him, the total deposit was D100, 000 and the rest were interest accrued; adding that there was a withdrawal of D125, 000.

At that juncture, documents relating to the account were tendered and admitted as evidences before the commission.

Next to testify was the executive director of Skye Bank, Mr. OlaboleIfabiyi, who said that he was the chief operating officer. Mr. Ifabiyi was summoned in relation to Dr.Yahya Jammeh Foundation Account and that it was a dalasi account, that there was a sub- account as well.

He explained that it was opened on the 11th of September, 2013, and the signatories to the account were one Nancy Njie and Ardy Sarge.

Mr. Ifabiyi told the commission that the account was closed last year, and that the last transaction was D234, 059.50 and this amount was transferred to Trust Bank. He said there was an instruction from the board resolution to close the account, further stating that the total credit was D32, 647, 675.94.

He said that there was a deposit of D80, 000 and D48, 000 respectively; adding that on the 24th of April, 2014, there was another deposit of D2.4 million.

Account opening information and correspondences relating to the account were admitted as exhibits.

Mrs. Fatou Lamin Faye, former minister of Basic and Secondary Education, reappeared in connection to cash withdrawals from the Mobilisation Account. The last time she appeared before the commission, Counsel Bensouda asked her to account for the outstanding sum of D3, 000,000 from this account.

However, she testified that she did not have documents in relations to the sum of D37, 200 because Mr. Ismaila Sanyang, former deputy permanent secretary, office of the former president, told her that he could not get the receipt.

According to her, Mr. Yankuba Colley, mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council, was supposed to retire the sum D384, 000, further noting that the sum of D230, 000 was to cover some mobilisation activities.

Documents produced by the witness were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Mousa Mousa, the managing director of T.K. Motors, along with his Sales and Marketing manager, Degain Nyang, reappeared for the admission of numerous documents relating to the supply of vehicles to the former government. Folders from 2009 to 2016 were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Hearing continues today. 

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: Momodou Lamin Bah, accountant general