Saturday, April 1

Embattled CEO asks gov’t to investigate KMC on purchasing of trucks

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“I know what I am saying and I am not making false allegations,” she contends, saying: “Anything that I am saying is backed by evidence. So, when the time is around, the rightful authorities will do the necessary investigations and the public will be informed about the development.”

CEO Martin made this statement yesterday while responding to a question by journalists on the allegation that Mayor Bensouda overpriced each truck to the tune of two million dalasis.

CEO Martin and four other KMC staff are currently suspended by the KMC over allegations of corruption. The embattled CEO last week released an audio, claiming that: “Mayor Talib Bensouda overpriced the ‘Mballet’ trucks that KMC purchased. He overpriced each truck amounting to two million dalasis,” she accused the KMC mayor.

“I think everyone should be patient with us until we are done with the investigation or whatever measures are to be put in place. But like I said, everything that I have said is backed by evidence. I am not speaking for the sake of speaking,” she emphasised.

“In one of my write-ups to the commission that was set up by the Ministry in order to investigate these allegations, we presented our evidence to them,” she explained. “However, instead of going and collecting evidence from the other side, they will take our evidence and present it to the opposing side and reframe everything in the manner that suits them.”    

She went on: “We didn’t meet the mayor, but we were received by the deputy mayor. We were told that our office is not ready and that they decided that the matter would be looked into at their general council meeting probably today [yesterday]and that any decision they reach will be communicated to us. However, what I want to make clear is that I have a letter from the Local Government Service Commission instructing me to report to work. We have been coming here for almost eight times. For me, I don’t think this matter is over yet.

“If the general council during their today’s meeting still claims that they will no longer work with us, we will have to communicate that message to the Ministry of Lands and the matter will take place from there. In fact, what happened is that, instead of allowing me to have access to my office, they allocated a conference hall for me to hang out and wait until they decided my fate. This therefore means even if I should come to work today, I have to wait at the conference hall until they are done with their decision. It’s either I have my office back or I am not going to work.”

Lamin K. Jammeh, the councillor of Bakoteh Ward who doubles as the Vice Chairman of the Establishment Committee at the KMC, said: “KMC is a public office and that we can’t stop anyone from entering the council. But, however, you can’t force us to work with any person that we don’t want to work with. The problem is that Sainabou Martin has nothing to do with us now in terms of the job. You can’t force us to work with her. This is a council resolution and it’s a law. Whatever the general council passes and it doesn’t contradict with the laws of the land it stands.

“The general council passed a resolution indicating that they ‘don’t want to work with CEO Martin until the alleged corruption scandal is clear’. We are not afraid of commission and we are not saying that we are not going to face the commission. Since we came to council in 2018, National Audit and other bodies would always come in order to regularise everything if there are any irregularities.”

Commenting on the allegation that Mayor Bensouda overpriced the Mballet trucks that were purchased by the council, Councillor Jammeh described such reports as “lies”. “We bought some trucks during her presence and she signed some contracts and she did the payment,” he said.