| The Management and staff of the defunct Gambia Public Transportation Corporation (GPTC) appeared before the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committees (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly, on Monday, to explain how the Corporation collapsed.|
The Corporation, which was summoned by the two giant Committees of the National Assembly, gave accounts of their audited financial and activities report, and also to explain the state of affairs of the institution as it was last audited more than 10 years ago (in 1998).
Speaking on what lead to the collapse of the Corporation, the Assistant Accountant of GPTC, Dawda Dibba, who could not hide his frustration and disappointment, put all the blame “on bad management” which was introduced and enforced by the former Managing Director Momodou Jagne, now working at Gambia International Airline (GIA).
He explained that there have been a lot of problems facing the institution since 2001and before the departure Mr. Jagne, there were plans to purchased new TATA buses from India.
“These plans were turned down by Mr. Jagne and the Board of Directors,” Dibba said adding, that they (Mr Jagne and the Board) instead went for second hand buses purchased from Spain amounting to millions of Dalasis.
When the second-hand buses arrived from Spain, Mr. Dibba said he opted to hire more staff, but he was forced to go on leave for 10 months “unwillingly”. “Upon my return from leave, I found 100 new employees at the Corporation and there was also a big difference in the way funds were managed,” he said.
“Allowances were paid to Board members even without the board sitting and millions of Dalasis were spent on traveling allowances, while the staff were denied medical facility allowances and monthly salaries,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of GPTC Women Staff, Fatoumata Jallow, a Senior Staff told the committee that women were not motivated or empowered at the GPTC, regardless of their status as housewives.
“We have to contribute to the welfare of our families and children and also support our husbands for the basic needs of the children. Our working conditions at GPTC has gone from bad to worse as we are unable to pay for our daily needs due to lack of salaries and allowances,” she said.
Mr. Samuel Jarju, who read a Petition on behalf of GPTC Staff, said GPTC is operating only four buses at the airport for now and the interstate service (Banjul-Dakar), one of GPTC’s main areas of income generation has closed down since November 2009.
Jarju said GPTC depots across the country are with neither electricity nor water supply, making it extremely difficult for the staff to use the sanitary facilities. “Under these uncomfortable and unhygienic conditions, the staff still report to work, just to sit on the open air.”
“We cannot enjoy what our colleagues in other public institutions are enjoying and there have not been any salary increments for the staff in the last ten (10) years,” he said.
“The Staff are worried about the inability of the GPTC to contribute to the Social Security pension scheme for years now, saying that many pensioners are yet to receive their benefits, a situation which is even discouraging to the old aged staff.”
He said a total of D162, 800.00 was deducted from the members of the GPTC staff association and is yet to be recovered from the current management.
The Minority Leader and National Assembly Member for Kiang West Hon. Momodou LK Sanneh holds the Government of President Jammeh responsible for the collapse of GPTC. “GPTC collapse is a man-made problem because before the advent of 1994, the institution was in a good shape but it collapses during second republic,” he said.
He also blamed the staff and the management for “supporting the culture of silence” and failing to raise the alarm when they saw the institution going towards the wrong direction.