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BAC's Headache

Sep 1, 2009, 5:00 AM

The alleged impropriety against the top echelons of the Brikama Area Council (BAC) is disturbing. At least fifty-four million dalasis is alleged to have been unaccounted for, or gone missing from the coffers of the Brikama Area Council since 2004. According to the scoop, the BAC is weakened by embezzlement, incompetence, nepotism, negligence and dereliction of duty from top to bottom.

But the Chief Executive Officer of the BAC Mr Momodou Jallow dismissed the alleged scam as "unfounded and totally untrue". His evidence is that "if this was true, government would have intervened". He added that the BAC dilemma is an "internal fight" that would be discussed at Council level with a view to knowing how to tackle it once and for all.

To put it bluntly, Mr Jallow is arguing in circles; his reasoning that the allegations are baseless because government is yet to intervene stands logic on its head. Government might not have intervened because it is yet to know about the alleged misdeeds.  Now that the allegations have spilled over into the media, the issue would no longer be as easy as it seems.

Besides, since Mr Jallow himself has admitted that the recriminations at the BAC are "internal fight", then it is necessary to figure out the cause of that "internal fight" without delay. He is probably unaware that the "internal fight" in his Council might have been sparked off by the alleged impropriety that is taking place right under his nose. Apparently, somebody at the BAC is not doing something right.

It is time public officials realized that they are accountable to the people, that the people have the right to know how their taxes are being spent. Taxes are paid to ensure the efficient delivery and enjoyment of public services. But when taxes are misappropriated, the people are cheated out of their just entitlements.

We therefore recommend that a commission of inquiry should be set up to get to the bottom of these grave allegations. At this point, the issue is no longer just a council thing that should be glossed over or swept under the carpet; it is now a national matter that should be dealt with in accordance with due process. It is the commission of inquiry that should establish whether or not the allegations are groundless. This is the only way that the rumblings at the BAC can be laid to rest.

"Sow an act, and you reap the habit. Sow a habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny." 

Charles Reade