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KMC Inquiry: Council Expresses “Disappointment” Over Minister Drammeh’s “Actions”

Talib Ahmed Bensouda
Mayor Kanifing Municipality

By Landing Ceesay

Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) has expressed disappointment over the actions of Musa Drammeh, Minister of Land, Regional Government and Religious Affairs in what the council described as “counterproductive” to its development.

“The failure of the Minister to notify the Council and provide them with the purported CEO’s report or the purported special inspection reports to afford the Council an opportunity to consider and if necessary address their content; the failure of the Minister to observe the rule of law, natural justice procedures and good governance in his dealing with the Council, which suggest that he has a special interest or hidden agenda.

“The Council expresses its unreserved disappointment with the actions of the Minister which are counterproductive to the development agenda of the Council as well as seek to undermine the Council’s firm stance against corruption. Council further considers the Commission of Enquiry of the Minister to have been instituted in bad faith and in abuse of his powers under the Act,” the council said in resolution obtained by this medium.

KMC called on the Minister to comply with the Local Government Act and cease all his interference with the processes commenced against Council staff in July 2021.

The council further questioned the legitimacy of the said Commission of inquiry and the good faith of the Minister of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs, Musa Drammeh.

“The Council in their meeting resolves that: The Clerk shall instruct retained Counsel to commence legal action on behalf of the Council to look at the legitimacy of the purported Commission and ensure that the rights and interests of the people of KMC are fully protected and that the rule of law shall prevail.

“The Lord Mayor shall communicate the concerns of the Council to His Excellency President Barrow in due course,” the Council said.

The Ministry of Lands, Regional Governments and Religious Affairs wrote a letter to the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) informing them that it has established a commission of Inquiry into allegations of fraud and malpractice there.

In response to the Ministry’s letter KMC said the only relevant report made by the Mayor is a report dated 22nd of July 2021 to the Local Government Service Commission about the alleged fraud by the CEO, Sainabou Martin Sonko perpetrated against the Staff Association and the fraudulent issuance of a Council Guarantee.

“The Local Government Service Commission has failed and/refused to convene over the said report and the Ministry has prevented the said Commission from convening even though the Local Government Service Commission is supposed to be an independent body that is not subject to the direction and control of anybody or institution,” KMC said

KMC alleged that they had received information that the Minister had prevented the Gambia Police Force from taking further action on the said report even though the Gambia Police Force is supposed to be an independent body that is not subject to the direction and control of anybody or institution.

The Council said it has instituted a civil action HCI471/21/MF/141/F1 on 10th August, 2021 against the Minister of Lands and the impugned staff to seek a declaration from the courts as well as damages for waste of Council resources; and the matter is pending.

“The CEO remains on administrative leave and the Commission has not taken any steps to investigate the allegations against the CEO and the other impugned staff and to determine the appropriate actions to take in respect of the complaint by the Council against the CEO and other impugned staff, one of the impugned staff, Mr. Bakary Jawo is reported to have been elevated to an officer at the embassy of The Gambia in Russia, while the investigation remains dormant.

“The Ministry, by letter dated 3 August 2021, sent inspectors to the Council to investigate the report made by the Mayor and several other matters. The Council welcomed such inspection and prepared to cooperate fully with inspectors while it continues to conduct its affairs in an open and transparent manner. Unfortunately, to date the Council has not received any correspondence, communication or conclusions relating to the said inspection,” the council said.

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