By Momodou Jarju
The National Assembly Select Committee on Local Government, yesterday February 11th suspended proceedings with Basse Area Council (BAC), as a result of the Council’s failure to provide the financial statement under review. BAC was supposed to present their activity report and financial statements for consideration of the year ended 2015/2016.
When asked why they could not prepare their financial statement, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BAC Momodou L Jaiteh, said he took over office in October 2016 from one Tapha Jobe, and was not privy to the reports prior to his assumption of office.
Further asked whether there was a proper handing over ceremony for him, he responded in the affirmative but said the finance director at the time, who was later transferred to Kerewan Area Council, was not conversant with the system which led the failure of providing the financial statement on time.
Jaiteh appealed to the select committee to give them time for them to prepare a “decent financial statement” which is required and indicated on the letter given to them and dated on the 4th February 2019.
Bubacarr MJ Kanteh, the acting director of finance said he assumed his position on May 2018 and did not come across any financial statement prepared by his predecessor. This he said, made it difficult for him to prepare the financial statement.
The Chairperson of the select committee Hon. Musa Amul Nyassi, said the lack of a financial statement has obstructed proceedings; that the entire country was anticipating hearing the outcome of the proceedings. Thus he urged BAC to prepare their financial statement even if it is going to be sourced out, if they cannot prepare one.
Hon. Nyassi strongly warned BAC to take the matter seriously. He quoted Section 110 of the 1997 Constitution which says: “Any act or omission which obstructs or impedes the National Assembly in the performance of its function or which obstructs or impedes any of the office or officer of the National Assembly in the discharge of his or her duties or affronts the dignity of the National Assembly, shall be a contempt of the National Assembly.”
He said there is no room for excuse while urging the BAC to put their house in order, to avoid such reoccurrence. Hon. Nyassi said their time and resources were wasted which could have been utilized on something more meaningful.
“I am happy that the director of governance herself is sitting here and nobody is representing. We are expected to finish the review of 2015/2016 audit report, financial statement, management of GPPA compliance and we cannot go any further, because the key element is missing which is the financial statement. We have consulted among ourselves and the most interesting part is we are not interested in whether it was management before you. But what we are interested in is you are the current management and this becomes mandatory on you to provide this project,” he said.
He said it is going to be difficult for them to squeeze a session with BAC before their next session which starts in March. However, he said they will schedule the BAC beyond next session and would communicate a date to them in due course.