Protest at PIA over CEO’s re-appointment
Friday, May 11, 2012
Staff and students of the President’s International Award (PIA) Thursday staged a mass protest against the re-appointment of their former chief executive officer, Abdoulie Bah, by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.The angry students, who were chanting “we don’t want Abdoulie Bah” said they need the help of the authorities to address the problem at PIA.
Speaking to the Daily Observer on behalf of the staff at the PIA premises in Bakau, Saikou Nyassi, the assistant head, Department of Information Technology (IT) at the PIA said the staff wrote and complained to the Ministry of Youth and Sports since February last year, about an alleged gross- mismanagement at the institution, which according to them involved a D1million subvention received from the Ministry to the institution which was mismanaged by the former CEO and his management. He claimed that the one-by-six loan which the Ministry gave to the PIA for the staff during last year’s Tobaski feast was never forwarded by management to the staff.
Nyassi further disclosed that the PIA is presently owing the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) D6 million which made the Corporation to drag PIA to court in May last year. He added that the matter was also reported to the Ministry.
Nyassi recalled that in July last year, a task force was set up by the Ministry headed by Dr Siga Jagne to look into the allegations levied against the former management and to produce a report and recommendations to the Ministry.
He said a report was produced and submitted to the Ministry after which the Ministry appointed a four-member interim management and advisory committee in February this year to implement the recommendations, which resulted to the termination of the services of some senior staff including CEO Abdoulie Bah.
While Nyassi noted that the interim committee is now on the verge of recruiting a new staff team for the institution, he said that what surprised them was the returnof Bah, who’s services was terminated based on the recommendation by the committee. “This means there is something going underground,” he said.
When contacted to shed light on the issue, Kawsu Federa, the acting CEO of PIA, who is also the principal assistant secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports who was overseeing the position, confirmed the appointed of Bah, adding that he was asked by the Ministry to handover to Bah yesterday, Thursday at mid-day.
Meanwhile, shortly after the news of the possible handing over broke out, students assembled to stage a protest against the decision and demanded the immediate removal of CEO Bah.
The angry students then proceeded on a protest match towards Banjul and were stopped at Denton Bridge thanks to the efforts of the Inspector General Police and the minister of Youth and Sports. Also present at the scene was the deputy inspector general of police, Edward Sambou.
Speaking to the Daily Observer, Abbas Sandeng, PIA centre manager expressed his dissatisfaction with what he called ‘dubious’ acts by the chief executive.He said they don’t need the man anymore and he must leave. “He cannot administer the place. In fact he threatened that he is going to terminate our services,” Sandeng said.
Addressing the students and their leaders at the PIA centre, the Youth and Sports minister advised them to put their grievances in writing and send it to his office. He also asked them to organise themselves for a roundtable dialogue today, Friday, May 11, 2012 at the PIA centre hall in Bakau. He then urged them to be calm and relaxed, while reminding them that they have no right to hold any demonstration without a permit from the police.
IGP Sonko and Deputy IGP Sambou also urged the students to calm down. They implored on them to go back to the centre, assuring that the problem will be addressed.
Author: Momodou Faal & Alieu Ceesay