Friday, February 15, 2013

Amid Financial Embezzlement Reports, NYC Chair Remain Resolute

Fabakary Kalleh (L) look forward to 'cleaning up mess' at National Youth Council amid reports on financial embezzlement (Photo credit: M.E.Njie/NaYCONF/Bansang)
In the middle of widely publicized reports of “financial misuse” at Gambia’s National Youth Council (NYC), its chairperson Fabakary Kalleh says he remains “resolute” in doing things right.

“I have had your concerns, your worries, your criticisms, your comments I read but I remain resolute in doing it right,” Mr Kalleh wrote in a facebook status update.
Kalleh said he is only called to the NYC to help cleanup a “mess”.

The NYC re-appeared before the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises (PAC/PEC) committees of the National Assembly on Jan. 30 for the scrutiny of its 2010 and 2011 activity and financial reports. 

The reports were rejected outright for the third time after the Council’s executive secretary Marcel Mendy fails to show up before the “accountability enforcement” committees.

The Speaker Hon. Abdoulie Bojang was “furious” that Mendy chooses to travel ahead of Wednesday’s hearing and also failed to communicate his decision to the joint session. 

“We reject the reports based on the fact that the Executive Secretary is absent to clarify the projects between the (NYC) and UNICEF, vouchers and loans owed to various people," Hon. Bojang said.

On a serious note, he said Marcel’s “emergency travel” without notifying the Clerk of the National Assembly is in “contempt of National Assembly in both in person and the whole institution.” 

 “The National Youth Council is not my property am only called on to help clean a mess so I cannot refused to be called a garbage by anyone who did not differentiate a "motor banlit” (garbage collector) and a “balit” (garbage)," said Kalleh who added: “but I have resolved to worry less and keep the going as my philosophy”.

Commenting on Kalleh’s status, Gambia’s Youth and Sports Minister Alieu K. Jammeh said: “The Ministry of Youth and Sports is undergoing a comprehensive restructuring together with all its Satellite Agencies, one of which is the National Youth Council.” 

Jammeh assured Kalleh of his support.

“The Council has never been audited before since 2000 when it came into existence. We asked for the audit, just like we are auditing our other institutions. The least anybody or institution can do is to support that process of rectification,” he argued. 

“Mr. Kalleh and his team are doing a fantastic job and have the absolute support of the Ministry,” he added.

On Jan. 14, 2013, the National Assembly committees also raised concerns over a loan of D25, 000 given to Pa Malick Ceesay, a former executive secretary of the NYC and another loan of D8, 000 given to ex-permanent secretary Mambanyick Njie. 

These two loans must be recovered immediately by the NYC, they demanded. 

However, an External Auditor, Mr. Pa Majagne Ndow, revealed to the national assembly the discovery of a huge misappropriation of D238, 000 at the NYC.

“The financial statement for the year 2010 revealed that there was an amount indicated in the financial statement as loss of funds amounting to D163, 000 while in the ledger it was indicated as refund to UNICEF and an additional amount of D75, 000 supposedly paid to UNICEF was also discovered bringing the total funds misappropriated to D238, 000,” Mr. Ndow said. 

He noted that UNICEF gave NYC D630, 977 to support the establishment of network of school councillors to promote the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and child participation at the NYC.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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