Tuesday, March 21

Investigation Reveals Sainabou Martin Sonko Received D30,000 Alleged Bribe From ALMOT Real Estate

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Mrs Sainabou Martin Sonko, CEO KMC

By Buba Gagigo

Findings by the Local Government Inspection team appointed to look into the allegations levelled by the mayor against the CEO and other staff at the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) has revealed that an alleged bribe of D30,000 was paid to the CEO of KMC, Sainabou Martin Sonko by the CEO of ALMOT Real Estate, Mr. Alieu Danso to get her to approve the upfront disbursement of D4.5 million towards the payment plan for plots of land acquired for council staff.

“Mr. Alieu Danso alleged that he once received a called from Baboucarr Sanyang stating that CEO Sainabou Martin Sonko requested for him to give her One Million Dalasis (D1,000,000) as ‘cola nut’ in order for her to speed up payment of the D 4.5 million he earlier requested to cover up a period of 12 months as first instalment. 

“Alieu Danso allegedly declined to honour the request solicited by CEO Sonko. Mr. Danso later said that he was called again by Baboucarr Sanyang allegedly conveying another message from CEO Sonko that, Mr. Danso can now give her One Hundred Thousand Dalasis (D100, 000.00) instead, which Mr. Danso again said he does not have,” the report states.

The report, However, revealed that Mr. Danso told their Inspection Team that it was after these calls that he decided to come and meet CEO Sainabou Martin-Sonko personally and persuade her to take Thirty Thousand Dalasis (D30, 000) instead. 

“He said he gave the money to Sainabou in the presence of Baboucarr Sanyang in expectation of a favour to receive the D4.5 million he had earlier requested,” the report states.

The reports state that CEO Sainabou Martin Sonko also confirmed to their Inspection Team of receiving the D30, 000.00 from Mr. Danso. 

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“However, she denied the allegations that she received the money as a ‘bribe’ in order for her to expedite the payment. She further stated that it does not make any sense knowing that the KMCSWA did not have 4.5 million in its own account to make such a payment to ALMOT,” the report states.

“Sainabou Martin-Sonko further stated that she refused to take the offer of D30,000 from Mr. Danso of ALMOT thrice, but she was later convinced to receive the money by Baboucarr Sanyang saying in Wolof: “li terranga la, teh terranga ken do kodeloh”, loosely meaning: This is a favour and no one rejects a favour. It was as a result of the persuasion of her colleague Baboucarr Sanyang that she finally accepted the said money,” the report indicated.

The investigators, however, said in their engagement with Baboucarr Sanyang on the aforesaid, he denied ever been present when the CEO received an amount of D30, 000 from Mr. Danso.

“He further denied that he had ever told Mr. Danso that the CEO of KMC wanted him to give her One Million Dalasis and One Hundred Thousand Dalasis respectively. Accordingly, he did admit that he had seen Mr. Danso In the CEO’s office on two occasions but could not tell what they were discussing.

“In another separate engagement with Mr. Danso and Sainabou Martin Sonko respectively; they both confirmed to the Inspection Team for the third time that In all their meetings Baboucarr Sanyang is always present, and he was there when the CEO received the money,” the report states.

The investigators said, in having two admissions and one denial, they have concluded that Mr. Sanyang was indeed present when the D30, 000 was given to CEO Sainabou Martin-Sonko. The investigators said they reached this decision because Baboucarr did later admit that it could be possible that he was present when he was confronted with the admission of the CEO but could not remember if the money was given to Sainabou. 

“Again, there is no point for the CEO to accept receiving the money in the presence of Baboucarr when that was not the case,” the report indicated.

Below are some of the RECOMMENDATIONS of the report.

“It was confirmed by both Mr. Danso and Sainabou Martin Sonko that the sum of D30, 000 passed hands between them and knowing that that was done during the course of executing her duties either covertly or overtly to influence her decision in favour of the request from ALMOT even though the KMCSWA may not have such monies is in itself is a betrayal of trust of a public official holding public office and therefore such a practice must be condemned and if possible sanctioned.

“✓ CEOs of the Council should not use their office for private gains when executing their duties as public official.

“The staff welfare executive should totally desist from informal transactions with a third party without the knowledge of the general membership, as they are representing the interest of the general staff and not themselves.

“The staff welfare executive should be transparent and accountable to their members at all times to ensure trust and confidence by organising Annual General Meetings.

“The welfare association should not look for money at the detriment of their members.

“The CEO of ALMOT must be held responsible for attempting to bribe a public official.”