By Fatou Dahaba
Yankuba Darboe, Chairman of Brikama Area Council, has debunked the allegations peddled against him by his suspended chief executive officer, Modou Jonga, in a new standard newspaper publication describing it as ‘false and misleading.’
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday in Brikama, Darboe said the interview his suspended CEO had with Standard is far from the truth, providing additional evidence against Jonga, who is currently on administrative leave after the Council passed a resolution for his suspension pending further investigations.
Jonga, in a Standard Newspaper interview, accused chairman Darboe of Interfering in staff matters, increasing allowances without due process, revenue collection, contract awarding, and loans, among others.
He told the Standard newspaper that a recent General Council resolution presided over by the Chairman has entrusted compliance officers to collect revenue and has equally failed to take necessary and sufficient measures for the individuals to duly account for all money in their custody or control, contrary to the advice of the CEO and in violation of Section 120, Subsection (2) of the Local Government Act, 2002.
He also alleged that Darboe authorized payment of D148,000.00 as an honorarium for 49 compliance officers. “Significantly, the said payment did not fall within the currently approved estimates (budget) of the Council, thereby violating Section 504 of the Financial and Accounting Manual for Local Government Authorities, 2009, and Section 13 (1) of the Local Government Finance and Audit Act, 2004, respectively.’
Firing back, Chairman Darboe, who has been hailed by many for fighting rampant corruption at the Brikama Area Council, clarifies that they have approved the budget sent to their line ministry by the CEO (Jonga) on December 8, 2022, for BAC 2023 approved budget.
“Jonga said there’s no accommodation for honorarium payment in the budget; that’s not true; there is already an allocation of two hundred thousand for honorarium payment in the 2023 approved budget,” Darboe told Journalists.
Continuing, He said:’ he ( Jonga ) said we pay one hundred and Forty-Eight thousand (148,000), that means we still have fifty-two thousand remaining as a balance in the budget, so that is belated false. It’s deliberate because the CEO is the custodian of all Council documents, so he is in custody of this document. He knows what the document is saying. He should have referenced it when he relayed it as evidence. So that statement of his is misleading and false.”
According to him, one of the reasons they passed a resolution to send the CEO on administrative leave is because of his incompetency and also for misleading the Council for far too long.
Chairman Darboe also stated that the councilors recommended the compliance officers to help maximize and stop linkages of revenue as well as to make sure the collectors don’t cheat and defraud the Council.
He said they have been moving with collectors from one place to another daily and increasing their revenue from fifty to sixty thousand to one hundred and eighty-nine thousand every week, which he said is a huge difference.
“The council decided to give them D3000 each as an honorarium,” he further clarifies.
He also claimed that the sections in the local government act quoted by Jonga are misleading because of the amount allocated in the budget.
‘Just last week, we lost 50 young people to the backway from the region, so we are trying to encourage them to stay by providing jobs, and it cannot be at a better place than the local councils.’
Regarding the contract committee and Interfering in staff matters, Darboe described such accusations by Jonga as ‘false,’ saying he was doing his job by supervising as the Chairman by the law.
“He Jonga and co tried to corrupt him when he took over the office, but he rejected it and refused to give them favor at taxpayers’ expense,” He said.
He alleged that Jonga and Co. mismanaged the Geology payment royalties that should have gone to the ward development.
Momodou Chareh Gibba, Councillor of Gunjur Ward and Chairman of the establishment committee, said the actions of the CEO show how dishonest and paranoid he is after the Council passed the resolution sending him home.
Momodou Lamin Sanyang, Councillor of Wasadu Ward, said the former Council made allowances and salary increments the CEO referred to.
“In 2020, when the salaries were increased by 30 percent, the ministry informed the CEO that the Council should benefit from the increment, and that’s how our salaries were increased to D13,000. We requested another D2000 allowance increment. This was embedded in the 2023 budget, but the CEO refused to pay us that money. He said he did not receive a communique from the ministry when the money was already approved. Some of our former councilors are still coming here for their money.”
Hon. Sanyang alleged that the 2.7 million Jah Oil loan was never brought before the councilors for resolution, which he said violates the local government and finance act, saying councilors are not benefiting from the Ward development fund.
Babucarr Kanteh of Kontong Ward said that in 2019, Jonga informed them that 3.5 million was allocated for the ward development fund. Still, in reality, only 2.5 million was paid, and Each ward was D500,000, including Gunjur, Katong, Bullock, Gibiro, and Suba wards.