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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Lands minister seeking ‘legal opinion’ on KMC saga

Lands minister seeking ‘legal opinion’ on KMC saga

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By Alagie Manneh

The minister of lands, Musa Drammeh, stated yesterday that the appeals court ruling on the proposed KMC commission of inquiry does not mean that the case is over, saying his office was waiting for “legal opinions” on how to proceed with the matter.

In January, the minister established a commission of inquiry into allegations of fraud and malpractice at the council.

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The council later filed an application for the court to quash the inquiry. Last week, an appeals court judge declared that the Local Government Act empowers the minister to institute a commission but that “there is no provision in the act or any other law” empowering him to establish the KMC commission as he did.

Reacting for the first time since the ruling, Minister Drammeh told The Standard: “There was a decision given [at the court]. It was given against me and the attorney general. Both of us were in the case. Now, we are looking at the ruling. They have given a decision. We are looking at that decision. The legal office will give us an opinion about it and from there we can proceed. When I was setting up the commission, I was doing it with the minister of justice. Now that there is a ruling, they will interpret to me what the ruling means. From there, I will know what line of action to take.”

Asked how disappointed he was with the ruling, he said: “Why should we be disappointed? We have said that as a government, we respect the rule of law. When a court decides, we are bound to respect the decision of the court. The president himself has always been respecting decisions of the courts, so, who am I to reject?”

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‘No witch-hunting’

The minister rubbished the suggestion in some quarters that he and the Barrow administration are engaged in a witch-hunt using the cover of accountability.

“Anybody who knows me, knows that’s not my nature,” Mr Drammeh protested. “They can say what they want to say, but anybody who knows me well, knows that’s not my nature. I was just trying to do my job as the minister responsible for municipalities. Fraud was reported to me, and I have a responsibility to discharge, and that’s all I was trying to do.”

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