BAC finance director fails to account for geology funds

Jul 10, 2024, 10:34 AM | Article By: Ali Jaw

Alagie Jeng, the director of finance of the Brikama Area Council, was Monday grilled over a whopping D33.7 million that the council received as geology funds.

Mr Jeng provided the Commission with a report that he prepared, which he admitted was not approved by the council.  Following tough questions from Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez, he agreed that the report was not accurate.

According to Jeng, the council received D33.7 million between 2019 and 2023 as geology funds. The funds were for the communities where mining activities took place, although he said some of the funds were spent on capital projects. 

He also testified that from these funds, BAC invested D7 million at Eco Bank, which enabled them to withdraw D9 million from the bank to spend on projects.

He also averred that they invested D2 million at Access Bank, to which he was asked by the Commission to provide evidence to substantiate his claims.

On the remainder of the geology funds, Jeng said the balance of the money was spent on projects.

The Commission highlighted that the geology funds were used to offset the negative balances of the council in the banks while defeating the intended purposes.

Jeng proved argumentative. Counsel Gomez took time to list the transactions from the bank accounts, the report he provided to the Commission, and the amounts received as geology funds, as well as the dates.

Left without options, Jeng accepted that the funds were mainly used to clear the negative balance of the council in the banks.

Thus, Jeng admitted that the accounts were mainly in the negative balances, and when the geology funds were received, the banks took the funds and they had only a little to spend.

The Commission again highlighted the loans and bank overdrafts incurred by BAC.

One of such loans was ten million dalasis to refurbish the council’s main building and another two million dalasis to pay 1 by 6 salary for staff.

Jeng admitted that they made a lot of withdrawals from the accounts. He was asked to provide evidence for the withdrawals and how they were spent.

Counsel Gomez told the wintess that the evidence before the Commission was that only D3.8 million was spent in the affected areas. Jeng affirmed.

Counsel Gomez further put to him that most of the funds were used to offset bank liabilities, which Jeng also affirmed, saying the bank balances were in the negative, and the geology funds were used to offset the negative balances.

“There is a law guiding you on what to do to help these communities,” Chairperson Jainaba Bah intervened.

Witness Jeng responded affirmatively and admitted that they did not follow the law.