By Makutu Manneh
The Members of Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of all councils were sworn in on Friday 24th February 2023, at State House.
President Adama Barrow said he established the Commission after receiving information of the financial and administrative irregularities of four Councils, which, he said, include both the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) and Banjul City Councils (BCC).
The Commission whose work started effectively as of Friday 24th February, shall work for next three months to probe the above activities of all the Councils.
Presiding over the swearing-in ceremony of the five selected Commissioners who will investigate the conduct of the four Local Government Councils (LGC’s), President Adama Barrow said he established the Commission due to the complaints received by his Government regarding the illegal financial and administrative irregularities of four Councils.
The five Commissioners are Jainaba Bah Sambou, the chairperson of the Commission, while Samba Faal, Oreme E. Joiner, Sukai Secka Sanyang and Alhaji Sillah, are the rest of the members.
“To provide evidence in support of this line of action, the Ministry of Lands received complaints from four LGC’s about alleged financial and administrative irregularities almost two months into the 2023 fiscal year,” he said. The President added that Banjul City Council (BCC) is yet to summit its annual year budget for scrutiny by the Ministry for Regional Government and Lands, and that the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) did not have a chief executive officer (CEO) or director of finance for nearly two years.
He said oversight measures including a court ruling and the institution of suitable redress procedures by detectives from the local government service commission, are still being hindered by these Councils.
President Barrow said these circumstances among other factors, have undermined the administration and social service delivery obligations of the above-mentioned councils, and went on to say that the Gambia government has a responsibility to restore and maintain normality at all levels of the establishment and will adopt appropriate measures to address the irregularities and complaints against the concerned councils.
“The task of the Commission is to investigate and present its report within three months, to guide the government on the adoption of relevant policies and administrative options. Ultimately, the outcome of the investigation will further guide the administrative policies and procedures of councils and will clearly spell out the relationship between elected and appointed council officers,” he added. He said the Commission’s task is to conduct a holistic review of the financial and administrative operations of the concerned Councils with the objective of improving their governance and service delivery components, based on standard procedures.
Jainaba Bah Sambou, the Chairperson of the Commission who spoke on behalf of her fellow Commissioners, said it is a great responsibility which they accept, with full understanding of the task bestowed on them.
“We pledge to do our utmost during the period we intend to serve, and we need your trust, confidence and support in the execution of our duty,” she told the president.