The Gambia’s local government minister warned area council tax collectors that those found liable for theft and defrauding the councils will be prosecuted, promising to conduct an audit of revenue collected from market vendors, most of them petty traders.
“We will be accounting for this money that we collect from the people if the monies are not delivered to the right place… I caution you all to be very careful. We are not going to spare anybody if you are found wanting,” Local Government Minister Musa Nyassi said whiles speaking at the Brikama Market.
The market was last month ravaged by a fire caused by bad electrical wiring. More than GMD1,000,000 of goods and properties were damaged in a crowded part of the market. Firefighters said their engine truck was unable to reach the site of the fire in a timely manner because of the poor arrangement and deplorable infrastructure of the market.
Business owners said they do not default in paying their taxes and decried the “horrible state” of the market.
Local government officials say they are expanding the market and signed a multi-million dollar project with GamWorks.
Brikama is the administrative capital of West Coast Region and home to more than 60,000 people and one The Gambia’s largest cities. Its area council has been praised for maintaining a surplus budget over the year whiles others were struggling with paying their staff.
Tax collectors have been accused of corrupt practices. The Gambia’s government has renewed its campaign to crackdown on corrupt officials. More than 40 officials have been indicted this autumn.