I have in my possession the Final Report of the Inspection Team deployed to KMC by the Minister for regional governments Musa Drammeh in August 2021. Reading the Report, I have come to the conclusion that the intention of Musa Drammeh to constitute a commission of inquiry on KMC is not genuine at all. I have no doubts that any decent citizen who has access to this report will have no choice but to stand up and speak out for the Pres. Adama Barrow to sack Musa Drammeh immediately and subject him to an investigation in the way and manner he has mismanaged that local government system.
No wonder, since this Final Report was submitted to him in October 2021, it was never made public. Not only did he fail to publish the report to demonstrate good governance but he also never acted on it. Rather the Minister decided to create a commission of inquiry in January 2022. Why?
We all recall in July 2021 when the KMC General Council decided to suspend the CEO and the Director of Finance for suspected corruption. They then took the right decision to report the matter to the police to investigate the matter. Instead of supporting the KMC in this crusade, the Minister rather caused the riot police to invade KMC grounds to force the reinstatement of the CEO. When that failed, the Minister then decided to immediately establish an Inspection Team in August 2021 to investigate the entire KMC.
In October 2021, the Inspection Team submitted their final report to the Minister. The Inspection Team comprised five officials – two from his own Ministry and three from the Internal Audit of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. Instead of the Minister acting on the findings and recommendations of the final report, he rather decided to set up a whole new commission of inquiry, albeit illegally.
The Inspection Team should be commended indeed for doing a very thorough and professional job as manifested by the quality of their report. In their report, the Inspection Team has found no misconduct, act of corruption or abuse of power by the KMC Mayor Talib Bensouda. Rather, what the Inspection Team found out was blatant and deliberate acts of abuse of office, negligence, unprofessionalism and insubordination by the CEO and other top officials.
For example, the Final Report found that the CEO had disregarded the Mayor’s advice not to enter into a dubious loan agreement which tantamount to insubordination. They also found that the CEO disregarded basic standards, due diligence and transparency on a wide range of issues including staff appointments, loans and contracts, among others. The Final Report also found the CEO wanting in failing to provide the necessary notifications to the Local Government Service Commission on these issues, as required by law. Finally, the Inspectors said the CEO had received a sum of D30,000 from a company which amounted to bribery.
Which Minster on earth will receive such a compelling report from an investigation team that he established himself yet he goes ahead to ignore that report? Minister Drammeh should be forced to accept this report and act on it without delay. If he had acted on this report, adequately and on time, he would have helped and saved not only KMC but also the entire Gambia from corruption and misery. But Minister Drammeh rather decided to bury this report and set up a phony commission of inquiry. He should tell us his reasons.
What will his so-called commission of inquiry do that his Inspection Team did not already do? Why would he waste public resources to do a job that was already done efficiently and diligently by another body that he himself set up? What does Minister Musa Drammeh truly want?
I hope and pray that the High Court will finally agree with KMC to throw out his illegal commission of inquiry. If the Minister is indeed interested in fighting corruption, then let him send Inspection Teams to each and every area council. More importantly, if the Minster wishes to improve local governance and community development, let him embark on serious reforms in the local governments.
Since 2017 when Musa Drammeh assumed this position, he has offered no progress whatsoever. The local government system is the foundation of national development. But this cannot be done until and unless the Local Government Act is reviewed in order to modernize and democratize it and make local governance truly decentralized. Yet since 2017, the Minster has failed to bring about any legal and institutional reforms within the local governance system. Therefore, why should Musa Drammeh continue to be a Minster. He should be sacked and investigated, ASAP.
For The Gambia Our Homeland.