The decision by the Kanifing Municipal Council to suspend the Chief Executive Officer and the Director of Finance over fraud allegations is a commendable move, a standard practice in any serious society. This swift decision by the KMC to expose and not hide this suspicious graft demonstrates a strong commitment by the council to discourage and fight corruption for which we commend the mayor and his team.
By this action, the KMC has also earned another accolade in addition to its innovative and service-driven policy and accountability to its tax payers. The message is clear: public officials entrusted with public purses must be responsible, honest and trust worthy.
Therefore, the KMC has raised the bar in the fight against graft in public institutions. This move is worthy of emulation in all institutions in the country especially during this period when corruption is already a big issue. This move will not only quickly restore confidence in the mayor and his council but also send a strong signal to other public officials in local or central government that corruption is not acceptable.
The nature of the allegations also suggests a flagrant abuse of office and trust by those accused and therefore we totally agree with the Council’s intention to involve the fraud squad because as already highlighted by the Council, this seems very much a case for police investigation.
As highlighted by the mayor, appointments such as CEO among other senior positions should be done by the Council itself and not central government to ensure that those occupying these positions are totally answerable to the council and the mayor’s office. It is nonsensical that CEOs of the councils are appointed by central government. Such an arrangement even has potentials of breeding antagonism between the CEOs and the councilors or mayors whose policies they should work for.
Finally, the KMC scandal should be a lesson for all public institutions. Persons wielding control over financial matters must be regularly checked to avoid abuse of office such as what is being alleged at the KMC.