By Mustapha Jallow
Some members of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) Tuesday 29 May have cried-out loud that their monthly salaries are being deducted by the Army Finance Department without explanations.
The soldier, who spoke to this medium on behalf of his colleagues, revealed that no clear explanation has been given to them for deducting their salaries in such a way.
‘‘We want to know why our salaries were deducted without our knowledge. Payment has been done since Thursday, May 24th, but what surprised us is, we went to the bank to cash-out our salaries only to find that our it was deducted,’’ the soldier explained.
He said soldiers from different Barracks and camps, went to the Defence Headquarters in Banjul to enquire from their seniors as well to print out their pay slips in order to ascertain the cause of such painful deductions but to no avail.
‘‘We were there since in the morning. around 2pm, when one of our seniors came and told us that the computer network system went down. No pay slips were issued and still now we do not know what the deduction was for. We went to the Treasury but we found the same problem there. Soldiers in Farafenni were not happy until the commander had to intervene and found the reason for the deduction of their salaries,’’ he said.
The soldier continued: ‘‘Can you imagine, one of my colleagues went to the bank to cash his monthly salary but he found D330 only in his account. He didn’t even collect it and returned with anger. As a service and family man, will this small amount sustain anyone for a whole month?’’ he asked.
He said the deduction has affected them seriously because it was their only earnings that they rely on to feed their families. He concluded by urging the GAF authorities to urgently look into the matter and fix it as soon as possible.
At the time of going to press, the GAF spokesperson Major Lamin K. Sanyang confirmed the report and said the deduction in the salary of some GAF personnel has been regularized and a cheque was released to pay them back.
According to the GAF PRO, some soldiers are benefiting from both transport and provincial allowances; that this is what is being regularized because one cannot benefit from the two at the same time.
“The GAF High Command has met the Minister of Finance and they have understood our concerns and the cheque has been raised and they will be settled accordingly. We apologies for any inconvenience,’’ he said.