By Ramatoulie Jawo
Aba Hyadara, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Center, appeared before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and the Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday, February 6th, 2024, to provide clarification on issues pertaining to a donated vehicle to the center that had not been included in the donation report.
During Monday’s session, the committee discussed the financial statements and activity report of the center for the period spanning from 2006 to 2020. However, due to unresolved queries, particularly regarding explanations needed from the ex-CEO, the consideration and adoption of the reports were deferred to Tuesday.
One of the key points of contention raised during Monday’s discussion was the vehicle donated to the center, which was not documented in the donation report. The board explained that the vehicle was given to a staff member named Haruna at the request of the former CEO.
The Finance Director stated that when auditors sought to verify the donated vehicle, he contacted the staff responsible for it. However, they informed him that the vehicle had been scrapped at a garage and could be retrieved for inspection by the auditors.
When questioned about the vehicle by the committee, the former CEO of Sheikh Zayed explained that it had been donated to the hospital by a UK-based NGO supporting the National Eye Health Program and other hospital activities. He added that the decision to allocate the vehicle to Haruna arose from a senior management team meeting.
“So when the vehicle donation was mentioned in the senior management meeting, I felt that the senior Optometrist who was far from the hospital could be given that vehicle to use officially, and the vehicle was given a Sheikh Zayed number plate and was used in the hospital so many times. So I think what should be explored is to go back and check the senior management team meeting notes and try to know exactly what was stated in the meetings and the decision to hand over the vehicle to the senior optometrist. You can also send a team to the center and ask the staff and drivers,” he told the committee.
Chairing the proceedings, Honorable Kebba Lang Fofana inquired of the former CEO whether he recollected giving directives to the accountant regarding the assignment of the vehicle. The former CEO responded in the negative, stating he did not recall issuing any such directives.
Further questioned about the existence of a vehicle policy during his tenure, the former CEO professed his unawareness of such a policy.
Dr. Hyadara noted that the center’s staff had utilized the vehicle for various tasks, suggesting that honest individuals would remember this. He contested the notion that the vehicle was personalized while Haruna was using it, deeming it a deceptive portrayal he could not endorse.
After thorough deliberation on the Sheikh Zayed reports, the committee reached a consensus to adopt the reports with certain reservations.
“The reports of the center will be adopted however, all managerial issues that the auditors indicate will be processed by the committee and will form our basis to advise the plenary to take an informed decision,” said Hon.Fofana.
He also mentioned that the committee will handle the matter of the donated vehicle and the payments made without documentation. These issues will be processed and forwarded to the plenary for a decision.