(JollofNews) – A spokesman of Gambia’s new coalition government has questioned the veracity of reports that millions of Dalasis are missing from the country’s coffers following the exit of President Yahya Jammeh and his APRC government.
Halifa Sallah who is also a senior partner in the coalition government, said the new administration of Adama Barrow is yet to audit any government institution to know whether money has been illegally removed from the state coffers by the previous regime.
He warned people against rushing to make allegations of financial impropriety by the Jammeh regime without any audit of government accounts.
On Sunday an adviser to President Adama Barrow, Mai Ahmad Fatty, alleged that more than US$11m is missing from the country’s coffers.
Mr Fatty told reporters in the Senegalese capital, Dakar that Mr Jammeh stole nearly D500 million in the past two weeks alone and the Gambia is in financial distress and financial experts were trying to evaluate the exact loss.
“The coffers are virtually empty, it has been confirmed by technicians in the ministry of fi
nance and the Central Bank of the Gambia.
That’s a lot of money, considering that we spend about D200 million on required expenditure relating to payment of civil service and so forth,” Mr Fatty told reporters.
But Halifa Sallah questioned the accuracy of Mr Fatty’s allegations. He said officials of the Central Bank of the Gambia have stated with clarity that the bank and all the commercial banks in the country are working and functioning with normality.
“President Barrow has aides but also has his spokesperson in my very person. If you want authentic and reliable information, please rely on what he says and what I say,” Mr Sallah said.
He added that ministers are being appointed by the regime and once they assume office, they will find out what has happened in the government institutions. He said any wrong doing will be made public in the interest of accountability.
Speaking on BBC’s Newsday programme he added: “You cannot make allegations without any auditing of accounts. You don’t know what has happened there. These are things that you as a journalist and we as a people that intends to run a government base on processes should not be let to believe.”
Reinforcing the message at a press conference on Monday afternoon, Mr Sallah said:”A government must work on the basis of its institutions and institutional processes. Allegations of theft etc cannot just be made by any member of the executive. It is not the domain of the executive. Allegation of anything that is a crime must be passed on to the Inspector General of Police and they are the competent authority that should conduct investigations of anything reported to them and eventually prefer charges against the accused. They must also be presumed innocent until found guilty by the courts.”
He said the Inspector General of Police has been tasked with the responsibility of examining the financial state of all government institutions and anyone who has information of any wrong doing should hand it over to the police for investigations.