Friday, September 29, 2023

High Court Orders Suspension Of KMC Inquiry, Pending Decision Of The Court

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By Sarjo Brito

The High Court in Banjul has ordered the suspension of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) inquiry pending the decision of the court.

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The Kanifing Municipal Council through its legal representative filed an ex-parte motion asking for the suspension of the commission that was set up by the Local Government Ministry to investigate allegations of corruption and other malpractices at the council.

According to court documents, the council argues the Ministry’s decision to institute the commission is wrong in law in that the mandatory preconditions set out in section 151 (2) of the Local Government Act have not been met, that the decision is ultra vires, illegal and in excess of the powers of the Minister; that the decision of the Minister is unreasonable, illegal and an abuse of power in that part of the subject matter of the commission is pending before another suit at the high court; that the decision of the Minister is unreasonable and contrary to natural justice as the subject matters of the commission were subject of an Inspection and Report which have not been shared with the Applicant; amongst others.

Justice Mahoney who was authorized by the Chief Justice to hear the case has since ordered the KMC Inquiry to suspend all its proceeding until the court gets a response from the Local Government Minister Musa Drammeh and the Attorney General.

The Ministry of Local Government some few weeks ago established a commission of inquiry to investigate the Kanifing Municipal Council on corruption allegations and other related matters from 2018 to date.

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In August 2021, the Kanifing Municipal Council under Lord Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda was involved in a huge corruption scandal amid reports that the then Deputy Mayor Musa Bah solicited bribes of up to 1 million dalasis from a company.

The Council’s CEO Sainabou Martin Sonko was also mentioned in these allegations after internal audit discovered she allegedly obtained a loan to a tune of 12 million dalasis in the name of the council’s staff association without their knowledge or consent.

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