Amid months of acrimonious relationship with his staff, Muhammed Manjang, the infamous Managing Director of the Social Security, Housing and Finance Corporation (SSHFC), has been booted out of office with effect from Wednesday, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Manjang was told not to report to work, until an inquiry set up by the Presidency to determine his fate completes its assignment. This followed, a petition filed by 271 staffers of the SSHFC, who accused the embattled MD of corruption, abuse office, and nepotism. Charges of which, Manjang categorically denied. Manjang has joined the suspended SSHFC Staff Rep Momodou Camara. The duo are now out of work, until the Presidential task force finishes its investigations into the SSHFC staffers year long dispute with their MD Manjang.
No formal letter was handed to Manjang to inform him about his suspension. Manjang was quoted by Fatu Camara, in her Wednesday live Facebook show as having said that he was asked by the authorities not to report to work until further notice. He also said resigning from his job, has not gotten to his mind yet. Manjang and Ms. Camara exchanged text message while she was on live Facebook streaming. She told her followers that she was informed by Manjang that he has no plans of resigning from his post.
Abdoulie Cham, the SSHFC Finance Director, has been delegated to take charge of the institution until further notice. Mr. Cham was a subject of investigations before the Janneh Commission. He was among the witnesses invited to testify before the Commission.
On Wednesday, President Barrow, inaugurated a six-member panel to look into matters at the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC). It is headed by Mr. Momodou Samateh, the current Chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC), who has extensive national and international experience in public administration.
The panel, according to a press release issued by the State House “has a period of one month to present a comprehensive report to the President. The findings will also inform the government’s policy on crisis management in public enterprises and parastatals in the country.”
In his inaugural remark, President Barrow said: “In our new democracy, we have to identify people who have the capacity, professional ethics and honesty to take responsibility. It is in this context that members have been chosen to constitute this panel.”
The Chairman of the Panel, Mr. Momodu Samateh, appreciated the honor bestowed on the panelists with admiration of their experience and knowledge in the execution of the task that lies ahead. He went to say the team is expected to do a good job that could that be used on the management of other public-private enterprises in the country.
Mr. Samateh committed that they would dedicate time to the assignment and would be fair in the execution of task so that the nation can move forward. “It is a part of nation building. We are not doing this job for the president. We are doing it for ourselves, for posterity and for all Gambians,” he added.
Other members of the Panel are equally experts and respectable members of society: former Minister of Higher Education, Mr. Crispin Grey-Johnson, Hon. Alieu Ngum, Mrs. Nelly Taylor and Alhaji Tamu Njie and Nyallo Barrow.
Mr. Manjang’s suspension has been greeted with strong opposition by the supporters of United Democratic Party led government. Pa Modou Bojang, a social media commentator and UDP supporter said: “It is time for the UDP Leader Lawyer Darboe to distance himself from the current government, when things are falling apart. Do you agree with me?.”
Also disagreeing with President Barrow’s decision to send Manjang on leave is Bamba Mass, a Gambian diplomat posted at The Gambian mission in the United Kingdom. Mr. Mass never minced his opposition to the President’s decision. He warns that Manjang’s ousting could send a wrong message to the Social Security workers, whom he branded as rebels without a cause. He questioned the sincerity of the SSHFC workers, on their claim that they were out to represent the plight of low income workers, especially the company’s drivers and cleaners. He said the striking SSHFC workers never manifested such an opposition against the establishment until Barrow was voted into office. He warns President Barrow to be mindful about the way he handles the SSHFC case saying that it was wrong for the SSHFC staffers to lock down the building.
Mass was quick to warn his detractors not to misrepresent his statement to the President. He said in as much as he supports President Barrow and his government; he contends that it is healthy for him to disagree with his leader, if he believes that Barrow is departing from the government agenda.
The majority of Manjang’s supporters are from the UDP party led government. Some diasporan members have also raised opposition to his suspension.
Majang’s suspension has been hailed by the staffers of the SSHFC. Some of the staffers said the government should not stop at suspending Manjang, it should also consider filing criminal charges against the disgraced MD.