The six-member panel tasked with investigating the root causes of the crisis that beset the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) some two months ago has presented their findings to the President of the Republic, His Excellency, Adama Barrow at State House on Thursday.
It could be recalled that some members of the corporation embarked on industrial actions because they were dissatisfied with certain decisions of the Managing Director, Muhammed Manjang.
In receiving the report, President Barrow thanked the panelists for a job well done, while stating that the report would undergo a thorough internal review process, to help government in taking the right decisions in the interest of the country, the corporation and workers in general. He said the outcome of the findings would ensure public institutions smoothly executive their duties.
“We will make sure public institutions smoothly perform their mandates to serve the people of The Gambia. The smooth functioning of the Social Security Corporation is by no means an exception,” he added. He describes the social security incident as yet another test to the maturing democracy of the country, which he said would require the commitment of all and sundry to be properly consolidated.
Presenting the findings reports to the President of the Republic, the Chairman of the Panel, Mr. Lamin Samateh, said that the report highlights a series of serious cases of procedural impropriety, and lapses in adhering to the extant rules and regulations governing the conduct and actions of public/civil servants. Although he described the issue as a classic example of a normal organizational resistance to change, he said that the panel strongly recommends that individuals found wanting in breaking the law and other service rules be disciplined accordingly.
Chairman Samateh also dilated on the operational mechanisms and methodological rigor applied by the team in their investigations. “We have interviewed a number of staff in the corporation. We have also looked at the various incidents that happened during this difficult time for the corporation. We have gone beyond the dispute within the organization as required in our terms of reference and looked at structural and systemic weaknesses in the corporation and come up with recommendations,” he explained.
The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Lamin N. Dibba, who is currently overseeing the Ministry of Finance, also added that the report being presented to the President covers before and during the crises.
“It describes the nature of the crisis, taking stock of depth interviews with senior staff of the corporation, including Muhammed Manjang, Managing Director, and Modou Camara, Director of Audit. In addition, the board chairman, other board members and relevant stakeholders were also interviewed,” Minister Dibba explained.
Ebrima O. Camara, Secretary General and Head of Civil Service said what happened at the Social Security was a matter of serious concern to the government. He applauded the President for the insight, the decision and the bold step taken to constitute a panel that would look at the issues independently and proffer advice.
“I can imagine some of the recommendations that the panel will put forward would not just be important or relevant to Social Security alone but to all other public institutions and parastatals,” he added.
Other members of the panel included Honourable Crispin Grey-Johnson, a seasoned diplomat, Alhaji Tafsir S.A. Njie – Public Enterprise expert, Mr. Alieu Ngum – Public Sector expert, Mr. Nyallo Barrow, Representative of the Labour Department/Commissioner of Labour and Ms. Nelly Taylor – Finance expert a Panel Secretary.
Director of Press & Public Relations
Office of the President, State House, Banjul