BREAKING NEWS: EX GAMBIAN DIPLOMAT ACCUSED OF DEFRAUDING GOV’T D438,699.27 WAS NOT FIRED BUT HIRED PS SPORTS AND LATER REDEPLOYED TO THE DEFENSE MINISTRY AS PS!

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Auditors in The Gambia have ordered Ndey Marie Njie, former Deputy Head of mission at The Gambian Embassy in Russia to refund Four hundred and thirty-eight thousand, six-hundred and ninety-nine dalasis, twenty-seven bututs) (D438,699.27) that she defrauded from the state through the dubious claims for warm clothing allowances. Mrs. Njie, who currently served as Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defense, was paid warn clothing allowance twice, while serving as a diplomat in Russia, which the Auditors say is in violation of Gambia’s foreign service regulation. She cheated the government through duplication of payments, the auditors said.

According to Gambia’s Internal Auditors “Financial Regulation 2016 Section 8 (2). Duties in respect of payments states that: “ The head of the accounts section of a department shall ensure that –(f) if any expenditure is made in excess of the amounts actually due; (i) the overpayment shall be recovered immediately and paid into the account from which it was originally paid, and (ii) the officer concerned shall report the circumstances immediately to the head of department or the appropriate authority”. Financial Regulation 2016 Section 9 (7). Duties of other financial officers states that: “A Sub-Treasury accounts officer or finance attaché shall –(f) ensure that no payment is made which is not covered by proper authority”. Foreign Service Regulation 0703 states that: “Where the officer is posted to a country with a cold climate (Europe, USA and certain African, Middle East and Asian countries (see Appendix 2)), he/she shall be paid on arrival at his/her post warm clothing allowance equal to 25% of his/her annual salary”. Foreign Service Regulation 0704 states that. “An officer transferred from a mission in a warm country to another mission in a cold country shall be paid the prescribed warm clothing allowance provided that an officer shall not receive this allowance more than once in two tours.”.

Observation

Contrary to the Foreign Service Regulation, the Auditors went on “we noted that payment amounting to D540, 442.37 was paid to Ndey Married Njie as allowance for warm clothing. However, D438, 699.27was paid in 2018 to the aforementioned name. Details are shown below:

Date Details Payee PV No. Amount

01-08-16 Being payment for warm clothing allowance Ndey Marrie Njie 10PV003768 D 540,442.37

13-03-18 Being payment for warm clothing allowance Ndey Marrie Njie 10-25-PV0034 D 150,289.92

10-05-18 Being payment for warm clothing allowance Ndey Marrie Njie 10-25-PV0050 D 288,410.07

Total D 979,142.36.”

Implication

There is a risk that the amount was deliberately paid to her, thus leading to loss of government resources which could have been used for other development objective, the Auditors stated.

“This is a violation of the Foreign Service Regulation (FRS),” said Auditors.

Gambia’s External Auditors were also dispatched to Russia to probe the former diplomat’s alleged theft of state funds. The findings are published below.

………………………………….

EXTERNAL AUDITORS

3.0 Detailed Findings

3.1 Lack of adequate supporting documents

Finding

Section 26 subsection (21) of the 2016 Financial Regulation states that;

‘‘Payment vouchers shall be accompanied by the appropriate supporting documents which may include original invoices, time pay sheets, and local purchase orders”

Subsection (23) went further to state that;

‘‘Where an original invoice is lost, a copy should be obtained and certified by the authorizing officer that payment has not previously been made ’’.

Examination of payment vouchers revealed that the following payments totaling GMD 57,665.62 were made without relevant supporting documents attached. Details are shown below:

Date Details PV No. GMD Remark

26/10/17 Being refund of excess luggage IFO Ndey Marie Njie Remittance refund $500.81 No claim attached

26/10/17 Refund of excess luggage payment IFO Ndey Marie Njie Remittance refund D28,332.00 No claim, Invoice/receipt attached

26/10/17 Being refund of excess luggage IFO Ndey Marie Njie Remittance refund $500.81 No claim attached

26/10/17 Refund of excess luggage payment IFO Ndey Marie Njie Remittance refund D28,332.00 No claim, Invoice/receipt attached

Total D57,665.62

Implication

The financial regulations have been violated.

In the absence of relevant supporting documents, there is a risk that these payments are not genuine.

Priority

High

Recommendation

Management should ensure that dictates of the financial regulations are adhered to at all times by ensuring that all payments are adequately supported.

Management response.

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Mrs. Ndey Marie Njie Badjie hasn’t refunded the D 979,142.36 dalasis that the Auditors say she allegedly defrauded the government. She was subsequently recalled and hired Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Youths and Sports. She was later redeployed to the Defense Ministry as Permanent Secretary.

Prior to her recall to Banjul, Ndey Marie Njie Badjie, has had issues with her former boss Jainaba Bah, the former Gambian Ambassador to Russia. She has been accused of insubordination, pressuring Ambassador Bah to help  secure service passport for her niece Mariama Senghore, even though Ms. Senghore wasn’t a staffer of The Gambian Embassy.  

“The only thing I did was to do my job as is expected from a Head of Mission. Ndey Marie Njie Badjie had issues with that – period. It is important for people to know about the Service passport she “fixed” for her niece, Mariama Senghore, who was not entitled to one. The passport number S0000360 reveals that. Secondly, for preparing a diplomatic card for Mariama Senghore giving her an employee status at the Embassy as a worker which is absolutely false and criminal.

In the same vein insisting and instructing the Secretary at the time to write to the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry stating Mariama was working under me. Which was also outrageous and totally untrue,” Mrs. Jainaba told me in an email.

In an email dated November 7th 2018, Ambassador Bah stated:

“From: Jai Bah <[email protected]>

Sent: Wednesday, November 7, 2018 12:45 PM
To: [email protected] <[email protected]>; [email protected] <[email protected]>; [email protected] <[email protected]>
Cc: [email protected] <[email protected]>; [email protected] <[email protected]>
Subject: Mariama Senghore

Dear All!

Enclosed is the translated diplomatic card issued to Mariama Senghore, the niece of the former Deputy, Ms Ndey Marie Njie .

According to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the new Deputy (Rtd General. Lamin Satu Bojang)  to get diplomatic cards for himself and his family, it is imperative that the diplomatic cards of the former Deputy are returned.

In that process, it is news and unsettling to me finding out that Mariama Senghore was given the title an officer of the Embassy of the Repulic of the Gambia. You who have read/witnessed the earlier discourse between the former Deputy and myself regarding the status of her niece(as domestic staff of the Ambassador) can be the judges of this one.

Have a continued good day!

Sincerely,

Ambassador.”

In another email, Ambassador Bah stated:

“From: Jai Bah <[email protected]>

Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 5:17 AM
To: [email protected] <[email protected]>
Cc: [email protected] <[email protected]>
Subject: Registration for Ms Mariama Senghore

Good morning Nataly!

Hope you have rested well after the hectic marathon two days of Monday and Tuesday.

Please, kindly find out from The Department of State Protocol why they would not accept Ms Mariama Senghore’s  application for registration as a domestic staff to the Deputy head of Mission, Madame Marie? Why would they rather have her registered as my domestic staff when she is not. The Deputy Head of Mission sought for and got Ms Mariama a visa to come work in that capacity? Is it ok with them that she is registered as my domestic staff even though in actual fact she is not? We just want to find out if that is the correct protocol and if they can confirm that in writing, please!

On another note, yesterday you were saying some of these protocols are not meant to be understood, but I differ. I think as an authority it is important, almost imperative that decisions taken are clear for the right reasons. With the position of The Deputy Head of Mission in this Embassy, I believe she is entitled to that choice of bringing someone here to help her with her domestic chores. Secondly, it is a contradiction that Ms Mariama is given a visa on the basis they are not accepting her registration. So, we need some clarification.

Thank you and see you soon!

Best wishes/Amb.”

Mrs. Ndey Marie Njie Badjie has also been accused of trying to defraud The Gambian mission in Russia through dubious medical bills.

Ambassador Bah even had to write Momodou Lamin Bah to inform him Ndey Marie’s medical claim refund.

“On Friday, February 23, 2018, 10:24:59 AM GMT, Jai Bah <[email protected]> wrote:

Jumu’ah Mubarak Sir!

Sending you special greetings from Moscow! Great talking to you the last time and thank you once again for your guidance and support.

Well, am writing this e-mail to seek your opinion as to the rules regarding medical bills. Are Embassy staff entitled to a refund for medical bills by simply providing/producing receipts of payment to a healthcare giver or should the receipts be accompanied by supporting documents with specifications as to what the ailment was and or what treatment was given?

Please Sir, we are very grateful if you can update us with the rules! We want to execute our duties diligently without intruding anyone’s privacy. Simply put, we just want to do what is right according to the rules and regulations.

Thank you and have a blessed Friday!

Best wishes/Ambassador Jainaba Bah.”

In response Momodou Lamin Bah stated:

“From: Momodou Lamin Bah <[email protected]>
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2018 5:39 PM
To: Jai Bah
Subject: Re: Medical Bills

Jumaa Mubrak Madam Ambassador,

Normally, a medical bill should come to the Embassy from the Hospital/Doctor, after giving medical attention to a staff. The embassy would settle the bill in full and recover the staff’s contribution (10%?) directly from the staff.

Where the staff settles the bill in full, the embassy would refund 90% of the bill to the staff, with full supporting documentation (diagnosis/prescription, receipt, medical report, etc.) provided. However, great caution should be taken with medical refunds, especially where only a receipt is provided for the refund. This is a potential area of audit query as it may be difficult to substantiate the veracity of the supporting document (receipt), and can be subject to abuse.

You may also refer to the Foreign Service Regulations (FSR) for further guidance.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best regards.

ML Bah.”

Mrs. Ndey Marie Njie Badjie could not be reached for comment.

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