Sources close to Central Government revealed to What’s On-Gambia that Tourism Minister, Hamat Bah and Barrow’s must trusted aide, Amie Bojang -Sissohore are among the many senior civil servants that are making a fortune from travelling regularly outside the country.
Since his appointment as minister, Hamat has been globe-trotting making hundreds of thousands in per diem. He spent more than 25 days outside the country in the last two months.
The Tourism Minister was in Mecca with President Barrow and shortly after his return, he left for China with his permanent secretary on a 16-day-visit.
For Amie Bojang-Sissoho, she was also in Mecca and later joined the President to the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72) in the USA. Unconfirmed reports revealed that she was paid more than D12, 000 for each night spent in the USA.
Another famous per diem hunter is the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Lamin Camara.
“He always insists to be included in any team travelling outside for official mission. He started the per diem hunting since in the Jammeh era” said an insider.
There are reports that the new government’s excessive travel and unnecessary trips is costing the taxpayer millions of dalasi every month. The travel and per diem allocation for this year has allegedly been exhausted, just months into the annual budget.
Njundu Drammeh, an activist, wrote on his Facebook page: “I think to ensure austerity and prudence, every Minister, Permanent Secretary, Director etc., all should justify in writing why they must attend such meetings, expected outcomes and what the State would gain in concrete terms. The ministry of Finance must insist on full retirement or liquidation of every per diem given. When officials know they would have to fully account for every butut given and spent they are careful. Without such brakes in place, these foreign trips will continue to be money making expeditions’’.
All these are at a time when the country is undergoing financial stress, no medical supplies and drugs were bought for 2017. What are left in our hospitals now are remnants of 2016 supplies, which are almost exhausted.