By Omar Bah
The KM mayor has revealed that the council has written to the Ministry of Regional Government that CEO Pa Kalifa Sanyang and the finance director Juana Hall, who were sent on forced leave will not be accepted back.
Sanyang and Hall were asked to go on leave by the then interim management council for alleged ineptitude and malfeasance.
Mr Sanyang has since responded to those allegations by accusing the Bakary Jammeh committee of cooking up a “grossly erroneous report… replete with lies and distortions” and not a true reflection of the state of affairs at the KMC”.
But, in his first press conference after clocking 100 days in office, Mayor Talib Bensouda said after reviewing the report of the interim committee they adopted the findings and informed the ministry that the council will not accept the return of the two. This, he added, will allow the new administration get its feet on the ground properly and open a new chapter.
Mayor Bensouda said the Kanifing Municipality’s bank balances have improved significantly from the time he took over the leadership of the institution, hundred days ago.
“We have implemented robust cost-cutting measures to prevent leakage and ensure day-to-day growth of our bank accounts. This included restrictions on procurement and an embargo on all staff loans. Even with increased spending on municipal services, since taking office, we have grown our bank balances on a day-to-day basis from D8 million to about D16 million,” he said.
He said they have found the former administration operating a multiple of bank accounts contrary to the Local Government Finance and Audit Act, saying they have already commenced the process of closing down the accounts to maintain one council fund development account.
“Today we are only operating three accounts which has vastly reduced maladministration and increased council’s ability to consolidate resources and deploy future development projects,” he said.
He said an audit of KMC is also being done by the National Audit Office for 2016 and 2017, adding that such an exercise will “allow us to review council’s financial manual”.
On waste management, Mayor Bensouda said the Council does not have adequate vehicles to collect waste and the major dumpsite within the municipality, Bakoteh, was becoming an “environmental catastrophe”.
He said there are numerous illegal dumpsites in the Kanifing municipality as a result of illegal dumping mostly by donkey carts.
“I have instructed the administration to continue to clear all the dumpsites. So far we have cleared up to 15 illegal dumpsites and we urged the community to be vigilant in reporting these sites and work with us to ensure that the municipality completely is cleaned up,” he said.
“KMC has also joined an inter-municipal committee with Brikama and Banjul to work on the eventual closure of the Bakoteh dumpsite and a joint strategy for waste management. We expect to roll out a permanent solution next year,” he added.
Bensouda said the council has engaged Central Government to ensure greater autonomy and also ensure Central Government pays its 25% subvention to the local governments.
“We have engaged the Central Government to continue the decentralisation process to give councils more autonomy. We are asking that municipal revenues of parking fees, billboard fees, and livestock fees be returned to councils through the reversal of the unconstitutional directives. We have, in principle, agreed that car park fees be returned 100% to councils,” he said.
“We have also requested from the Ministry of Local Government to cease allocation of vacant state lands in the Kanifing Municipality. Our remaining available lands must be planned and we must strike a balance between community and commercial interest,” he added.
He said they are also engaging government and Nawec on debts relating to streetlights.