By Tabora Bojang
Suspended Kanifing Municipal Council CEO, Sainabou Martin Sonko has described as false and misleading allegations that she illegally acquired a loan in the name of the staff and used the money to buy a property. She calling it a smear campaign by Mayor Bensouda to tarnish her image in retaliation of her alleged discovery of former deputy mayor Musa Bah’s ‘graft’.
Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda told journalists on Monday that his office has intercepted a financial transaction initiated and entered into by Mrs. Sonko. Mayor Bensouda said Mrs Sonko entered into illegal transactions amounting to D12 million for the acquisition of a land for the KMC staff.
The mayor said investigations have also discovered that the land acquired by Mrs Sonko is grossly over-valued and she forged council documentation and approvals to obtain a guarantee purportedly from KMC to secure the loans.
He added that the Council has already recovered about D7.6 million from the D12 million.
However, speaking on the matter for the first time in a write-up seen by The Standard and confirmed by the CEO herself, Mrs Sonko said all the accusations leveled against her are false, misleading and only intended to defame her. “I am cooperating with my lawyers to complete the petition and the legal action to be filed against the Mayor and the Council for defaming my character and when we are ready, I will also give a press briefing to give a detail explanation and the evidences will speak for themselves,” she vowed.
Madam Sonko in turn alleged that she discovered fraud by deputy mayor Musa Bah who resigned in the wake of the allegations, which she reported to Mayor Bensouda about two months ago but he [Bensouda] pleaded with her to keep it secret since it would not do any good for him and his party in an election year.
“So when I signed the corporate guarantee for the KMC staff welfare association for AGIB to grant the welfare a loan facility to purchase a piece of property in Brufut that was intended to be reallocated to interested staff, the mayor became mad with me and summoned a directors meeting and demanded my resignation. I confided in a trusted colleague that I had discovered a more serious case than mine and the mayor did not take any action against that individual and he is now asking me to resign based on a guarantee I signed not in my name but for staff welfare,” Madam Sonko alleged.
She said she has an audio which she played to her that trusted colleague as proof. “My friend advised me to share the audio with her to serve as a backup in case something happens to my phone. How the audio reached the Freedom Online Newspaper, I cannot explain but immediately the audio was leaked, the mayor blamed me for it and began the smear campaign to tarnish my image only to pay back for what had happened to the deputy mayor,” Sonko said.
“But the one-million-dollar question I want to ask is, if it was true that I defrauded the Council the amount of money they are claiming, why am I going about my business in this country freely and not arrested and put behind bars?” Madam Sonko quizzed. The Standard tried contacting officials of the KMC but was told that there would be a press briefing by the council on Saturday.