Embattled KMC CEO Says Council denies her entry to the office

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Sainabou Martins Sonko

Sainabou Martin Sonko, the embattled Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), has alleged that the authorities at the Kanifing Municipal Council have denied her access to her office.

She said the Council has instead ushered her to a conference hall they want her to use as an office before the matter regarding her case will be discussed at the General Council Meeting slated for Wednesday, 22nd February 2023.

This development comes on the heels of the latest directive issued on Monday, 20th February 2023, by the Ministry of Local Government and Lands instructing the suspended CEO of the KMC to resume work immediately.

Sainabou Martin Sonko was accused by the authorities of the Council of official corruption and office mismanagement, leading to her suspension for more than eighteen months.

“What happened here is we did not meet the Mayor; the deputy Mayor received us, and the escort went upstairs to talk to the Mayor first, and when they came, they told us that my office was not ready. However, they also told us that they as a Council decided that the matter will be looked at at the General Council Meeting probably tomorrow, and any decision they have reached will be communicated to us,” Saunabou Martins Sambou told the waiting press before leaving KMC premises.

She added: “I want to share with everybody that I have a letter instructing me to report to work immediately from the Local Government Service Commission under the Ministry of Local Government and Lands. The Local Government Service Commission is the body responsible for employing personnel in the Local Government Service, so this letter is an instruction to resume work; we have been coming here more than seven or eight times if I can recall, but they (KMC) always been giving the same excuse.”

According to her, denying her access to the office only indicated that the matter is still ongoing, noting that she will return to the local government services to seek redress, which outcome will be communicated to the public.

She disclosed that she has been waiting for the decision of the General Council meetings for the past eighteen months without any solutions, observing that it will be challenging on her part to believe there will be any changes in the outcome of the General Council Meeting slated for Wednesday 22nd.

“We have to get this information to our line Ministry, and then the matter will be picked up. What transpired inside was that instead of allowing me to access my office, they (KMC) allocated a conference hall for me to hang around and wait for them to decide, and that means even if I come here tomorrow, I will be using the conference hall until they (General Council) takes their decision.

In a related development, the Kanifing Municipal Council has responded to a press release issued by the Ministry of Local Government and Lands regarding the resume of duties of the embattled CEO, expressing its utmost disappointment to Permanent Secretary Buba Sanyang for threatening Council to allow Sainabou Martins Sonko to resume work forcefully.

“It is with disappointment that the Kanifing Municipal Council notes the unfortunate press release issued by Buba Sanyang, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs, on Monday 20th February, a national holiday when Government offices were closed. It is also unfortunate that Mr. Sanyang would use the Government platform to levy threats against the Council with rhetorics of escalation. Council would remind the author of the press release that the days of dictatorship are over. The laws are for all parties,” KMC stated in its press release on Monday, 21st February 2023.

It added: “It is untrue that the Chief Executive Officer has been refused entry to Council premises. The CEO was refused entry 18 months ago on the 4th and 9th of August, consecutively following the Council Resolution of 26th July 2022, ordering her to proceed on administrative leave amidst a finding of corruption. The Inspection Team confirmed the findings sent from the Ministry.”

KMC further disclosed that Sainabou Martins has persistently refused to comply with the resolution of the Council that she works under, adding that following Council’s engagement with the Ministry, CEO Martins Sonko capitalized on the situation to force her entry through the aid of Paramilitary Officers deployed by IGP.

Council said it had received a High Court Order that relies on refused entry to the embattled CEO, adding that even the High Court has since withdrawn the order. Sainabou Martins have always been allowed access to Council and have been frequenting the premises of the Council without any restrictions.

However, Council also disclosed that the Ministry of Local Government has refused to act on the findings of the Inspection Team for the past 18th Months, noting that the results on the corrupt practices of Sainabou Martins Sonkos are not mere allegations. Still, rather facts and the Ministry failed to act on the matter.

“As a matter of ethics, good governance, and morality, the Council cannot assign a public servant duty over public resources while corruption remains. But, again, this is a matter of facts and not mere allegations,” KMC emphasized in its press release.

It added: “The Local Government Service Commission is urged to review the recommendations for removal of CEO as required by their mandate. In the interim, the CEO may continue to report but shall only be assigned responsibility once the recommendations of the Established Committee are considered in substance.

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