The ex-CEO at the Basse Area Council has told the Local Government Commission of Inquiry that former finance director Lamin Suso used to forge his signatures.
Ousman Touray said that he reported the matter to the auditors during the system audit exercise. He produced a cheque dated 6 October 2022 to the Commission, showing that the former director of finance, Lamin Suso forged his signature.
Lead Counsel Yakarr Cox cross-examined the witness based on the report of the task force constituted by the Basse Area Council to investigate alleged financial malpractices. Witness Touray said there was an earlier report by the sub-committee on audit and finance.
"Is there any reason to carry out successive investigations into the council?" Lead Counsel Yakarr Cox asked.
The witness responded that the council accounts were empty, and there was a rumour that the revenue collectors were not depositing the monies they collected.
The witness said the director of finance came with printed invoice books from Brikama with the council's logo on them. "They were privately made by the Director of Finance," he said.
The witness testified that the practice of the director of finance was not in line with the Financial Manual and the Local Government Finance and Audit Act.
"The ones he brought were not the government-printed invoices. They were never used because I never accepted them," Ousman Touray said.
Mr Touray also testified that the Basse Area Council stopped using the GTR (General Triplicate Receipt), as they were using the digitised receipts. He explained that the GTR receipt books were in the custody of Lamin Suso. He alleged that Suso was using them.
The witness was engaged on a number of issues during his week-long testimony. He was also quizzed by Deputy Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez on a number of financial derelictions that occurred at the Basse Area Council.
A list of such derelictions was enumerated to the witness by the deputy lead counsel, which the witness affirmed being true. Witness Touray admitted that he did not take steps to address these issues.
Nonetheless, he denied making withdrawals from the 'Alatentu' account, although he confessed to receiving D100,000 from the Director of Finance.