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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Reshuffling corrupt officials is not a good sign in fighting corruption

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By Nfansu Camara
Sandu Kuwonku

Fighting against corruption is not lip-service but a proactive approach should be taken by the relevant authorities. Indeed, corruption cannot be entirely eradicated but it can be reduced because it’s a cancer in our development.

It was quite shocking and irritating at once when I saw the dispatch from the LGSC indicating that certain corrupt officials had been reshuffled. The former CEO of Brikama Area Council, Modou Jonga, should have been arrested and investigated for corrupt practices he was alleged to have been involved instead of reshuffling him to another council.

As an institution that fights against endemic corruption, the decision by the Local Government Service Commission shouldn’t have been taken. Evidence has shown that Modou Jonga, former CEO of Brikama Area Council is a kleptocrat but he was patently defended by the central government because he is their mouthpiece at the council. This is rather unfortunate!

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The same thing was done at Kanifing Municipal Council when Sainabou Martin Sonko was accused of corruption. Instead of being arrested and investigated by the authorities, she was reshuffled. The central government defended her and that created mayhem between the central government and the KMC. This is another example that indicates that a lot of lacunae should be filtered out from our Local Government Act including the appointment of CEO and Finance Director by the central government.

In a serious country, the alleged financial mismanagement by Jonga will be handled with utmost seriousness and willingness to make sure the alleged violator has an interface with the law. In such an unfortunate country like ours, we’ve seen the government sugarcoat people who were accused of financial embezzlement because they were loyalists to the ruling party. This is why corruption continues to be pervasive and pernicious to the detriment of the people.

It’s comical that, those who choose to fight against corruption, in this country, have been constantly targeted and maimed. When one chooses to fight against corruption, one must remain eternally vigilant that, he or she can be eliminated at all times because they (corrupt officials), take their children to schools based on monies that are corruptly acquired. They purchase and drive fancy cars based on monies that are acquired through corruption. When one chooses to stop or talk about that, they will ensure that you’re neutralized. This is the sad reality we are facing!

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In my administrative council (Basse Area Council), the financial threshold that should be subjected to the approval of the general council is 1 million Gambian Dalasi. What a whopping amount! Certain laws in themselves can be used as a channel for looting public funds. At Basse Area Council, any amount below the stipulated threshold will not be subjected to general approval by the council, which is the gateway which corruption can be carried out. As policymakers, certain laws should be carefully examined.

History might repeat itself at Kuntaur Area Council, as the elected Chairperson of the council failed to return after spending 4 months in the United States as a lobbyist for investors. A coalition of his critics have it that, he has absconded and will not come back to execute his given mandate. Equally, this should be an eye-opener to those who voted on party lines but not issue-based. Elections have consequences!

His (KAC) gave him an ultimatum to return to work and he failed to respect that, even if a by-election is organized, it shouldn’t be a blow to anyone if an NPP candidate is re-elected. The absconded chairman should be arrested and prosecuted if he ever steps his feet on the shores of Gambia. This is a gross betrayal!

Words should be matched with actions in fighting against corruption!

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