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“We Don’t Force or Lock Chairman” – Councilors Claim

“We Don’t Force or Lock Chairman” – Councilors Claim thumbnail

Councilors of the Port Loko District Council  in an interview with the press refuted claims by Chairman, Ahmid Munirr Fofana of being put under lock and key to sign a cheque of Le 17 million on Wednesday 20the June, 2012.  (Photo: Port Loko District Council Chairman, Ahmid Munirr Fofana)

The Councilors disclosed over the weekend that, on 30th September, 2010 thirty-one councilors signed a letter  of a ‘Vote of no Confidence” for the removal of the Chairman’  addressed to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development  because according to them, they have qualms of the manner he was administering the council.

They further highlighted in the letter that the Chairman is in the habit of taking unilateral decisions and changing lawful decisions of council which are abuse of office contrary to Section 12a of the Local Government Act; also giving out contracts before procurement procedure which is also an abuse of office and corruption contrary to Section 12a and b of the Local Government Act. Walking out of council sittings  and abruptly ending  council meetings  without the normal  procedure because of wanting to ignore  question which is gross misconduct or misbehavour contrary to Section 12d; instructing a non council member  to receive payment on behalf of the council during his absence, abuse of office and failure or refusal without justifiable reasons to implement lawful decisions of council contrary to Section 12a and f; lying to have transferred monies made from the sale of scrap metal meant for Council to the Ministry of Mineral Resources which is corruption contrary to Section 12a and b.

According to the councilors, Chairman Ahmid Munirr Fofana always implement projects without the knowledge of councilors representing the particular Ward and collect monies from contractors on behalf of councilors for monitoring which they claimed  to have  never received.

 The Councilors further claimed that the Deputy Chairperson should act in case the chairman is absent but this   has never happened because the Chairman has earlier stated to the Minister of Local Government that he was not ready to work with his Deputy who was duly elected by the Councilors.

The Deputy Chairperson, Rugiatu Neneh Turay stated that since she was elected to that position, she has never received any salary which is categorically stated in the Local Government Act and has never received any responsibilities allowance and scarcely attends council functions because the Chairman   assigned most of the functions to his blue-eyed Councilor Ibrahim Santigie Bangura.

“According to the Local Government Act, the Deputy Chairperson should be signatory to the council’s account for the smooth running of the council in case  the chairman is not present but this has  never happened in the Port Loko District Council. Projects stalled if the Chairman is not around all and money transactions will be upheld till he comes he runs the council as if it were his personal property. The monitoring of projects should be handled by the councilors headed by the Deputy and Councilor I. S. Bangura and sum of Le 36,000,000 was dished out for the monitoring exercise by the Councilors which is in the hands of the Chairman but when asked he stated that the Former Chief Administrator, Mohamed Sheku Kargbo has the money when Kargbo Chairman was asked he responded that the Chairman has the money which is still to be accounted for,” Councilors claimed.

The Councilors further complained that Robunth bridge contractor alone gave Le 100,000, 000; the twelve District Education Committee Schools rehabilitation contractors each gave the sum of Le 10,000,000 which is summed up to Le 120,000,000; mini stadium project contractors gave Le 60,000,000 among others for councilors monitoring exercise but such have never met the councilors and the Chairman is yet to explain to Council.

Sources from the council revealed that during the sharing of the Mini Stadium Le 60,000,000 amongst the current Chief Administrator, Alfred Nabie Samura and Abdul Bangura Internal Auditor quarreled as the money was not shared fairly.

According to the councilors when they requested for all these monies from the chairman, he responded that the money was small to be shared and the councilors had no option but to  report the matter to Hon. Ibrahim Bundu, Hon. Alhaji Buya Kamara, Hon. Kemoh Sesay and Alpha Kanu and on 8th May, 2012 Hon. Ibrahim Bundu invited the aggrieved parties to  a meeting in Parliament wherein the Majority Leader, Hon. S. B.B. Dumbuya, Deputy Health Minister, Mamod Tarawalie among other Port Loko district stakeholders were present including the chairman.

After the meeting, the Chairman promised to give the money by 18th May, 2012 which date has passed without him fulfilling his promise.

The Councilors further explained that on Wednesday 20th June, 2012 council meeting was summoned and councilors requested for the inclusion of Councilors monitoring fund on the agenda which call made the chairman to cancel the meeting and said that the issue should be discussed in close door.

 The Resident Technical Facilitator asked the chairman if he was committed to such agreement concerning the councilors monitoring funds the Chairman responded in the affirmative.  “We calculated the money which is five hundred and fifty million Leones (Le 550,000,000) that has been collected so far from contractors but the royalties monies collected so far, has not been accounted for but the chairman accepted it to be around Le. 68,000,000 and we all went out peacefully. Even the Deputy Local Government Minister, Hadiru Kalokoh talked with the chairman so he was never put under lock and key.

On that fateful when the Chairman claimed he was put under lock and key  and forced to signed the seventeen million cheque, the  council’s accountant  came with some  money to the Deputy Chairperson’s desk with no description and requested the Deputy, Rugiatu Neneh Turay to sign which she failed to but rather requested the accountant and Finance Officer to explain what the  money was for after which she said she can’t sign for money that has no description and on 23rd June, 2012 AIG North-West, F. U. K Dabor announced in an APC meeting that seven councilors should report at the Port Loko Police station on 24th June, 2012. In the police report, the chairman stated that councilors requested money for campaign but he failed to give them the reason why he was put under lock and key for several hours.

The police issued a one  week ultimatum which ended on Monday 2nd July, 2012  for the parties to settle the impasse otherwise the matter would be charged to court.

According to the councilor they have lodged former complaint to the APC Secretary General, Victor Bockarie Foh, APC Port Loko District Chairman, Honourable Alhaji Buya Kamara, Deputy Health Minister, Mamod Tarawallie, Parliament Whip, Honourable Ibrahim Bundu, Political Affairs Minister, Alhaji Alpha Kanu among others nothing positive is yet to come.

Chairman Ahmid Munirr Fofana stated that as far as he was concerned the matter is with the police, adding, “I don’t have anything to say and in the council, I don’t see no difference only lawlessness within few councilors.”

By A. R. Bedor

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