By Adama Tine
The Mayor of Kanifing Municipality, Talib Ahmed Bensouda, on Friday convened a press conference and vowed to maintain the council’s decision on the ongoing alleged corruption saga involving his Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mrs. Sainabou Martin-Sonko and her alleged co-conspirators.
Mrs Martin Sonko was alleged to have been involved in a fraudulent land loan to the tune of D12 million.
The council however suspended Mrs Sonko from executing her duties at the council, which resulted in the involvement of the Ministry of Lands and Regional Administration, urging KMC to rescind its decision to suspend some council officials.
According to Mayor Bensouda, the council recommended to the Local Government Service Commission for the removal of five council members, adding that the individuals are sent on indefinite leave and await the decision of the commission.
He added that the council maintains that it is a matter within the powers and prerogative of the council to send staff on leave in appropriate cases pending investigations into their activities by the relevant bodies.
“We will continue to apply the law and follow due process,” he said.
He further added that his office received a letter dated 3 August 2021 from the ministry, setting out areas for inspection. However, the mayor promised that the exchange of correspondence on the proposed inspection will be made available to the public.
Furthermore, the Mayor said inspection of local government provided under section 150 of the Local Government Act is an important governance tool, intended to foster transparent government at the local level. All books, records, facilities, and personnel will be made available to the inspectors upon their request in accordance with civilized and orderly procedures.
“The CEO’s attempt to enter the council with the company of a TV crew was unfortunate. It is the duty of all staff in the public sector employment to have due regards to the code of conduct of officials,” Mayor Bensouda said.
Shedding more light on the alleged audio recording, Mayor Bensouda said the council has appointed a joint committee of the establishment and appointed a committee to conduct a detailed investigation.
The ministry’s statement urged the mayor to immediately withdraw his suspension of the affected officials and make an appropriate recommendation to the Local Government Service Commission.