PIU officers storm KMC as council’s D12M corruption scandal escalates

Aug 10, 2021, 12:18 PM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

Armed personnel of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU), of The Gambia Police Force (GPF) yesterday morning stormed the premises of the Kanifing Municipality Council (KMC) as the alleged D12 million corruption scandal takes a new dimension.

The PIU personnel were reportedly at the council premises purportedly to allow Mrs. Sainabou Martin Sonko to enter the council’s complex after she was barred by the council. Mrs. Sonko is currently suspended by the council following allegations of corruption amounting to D12 million.

Mayor Talib Bensouda yesterday morning said: “KMC is under siege this morning! The PIU who are good partners to the council have been communicated that they are under a directive from the Executive Branch to install the CEO in her office who has been put on leave via council’s resolution after confessing to her crimes. This attempt to install the CEO by the use of force therefore usurping the decision of the council.”

Salifu Taal, the president of Gambia Bar Association (GBA), said: “We receive reports that PIU personnel stormed the KMC purportedly under the instruction of the executive on a matter that was already dealt with by the KMC internally.”

“In line with our duty as civil societies, we thought it’s important to get all the facts and information and do our utmost best to resolve the process in the interest of ensuring accountability, respect for rule of law and good governance. We visited the local government minister and he informed us that it was not his instruction or the executive instruction to deploy the PIU personnel at the KMC premises.”

In resolving differences and disputes, he said, we need to do so with decorum and in respect with the rule of law, saying that is what is expected in the New Gambia. “We should look at the issue objectively and all parties involved should be guided according to the law and should be accorded all the due process. The inspectors should have a right to come and inspect and in doing so, they should do so in accordance with the law. Anybody who believes that his rights has been violated should go to the court for redress.”

John Charles Njie, chairman of TANGO, said the fight against corruption must be a fight that every Gambian must take seriously. As civil societies, he added, they stand with anyone and anybody and any organisation or group that stands to fight against corruption. Corruption must not be encouraged in any way and in any form.

“Our position is that let us ensure that the rule of law is followed to the letter. Let us ensure that we know the facts and what those laws said and then we can move forward in advocating the right things. We have the law on our side and we are no longer under tyranny. If we as Gambians defeated tyranny, then that shows our resilience as a people and we can defeat corruption in this country.”

“As far as the investigations are concerned, we want to appeal to all parties to ensure that they comply with the investigation. Let due process take its rightful cause. Let every party have cause for redress and together we would be able to move forward as a nation. As CSOs we reiterated that we need to look into our laws so that our laws will be working for our people. The decentralisation of municipality councils, the local government authority, I think it’s high time we begin to have serious national discussion on the decentralisation process that was underway some years ago. We have to look at it again so that we can avoid this sort of conflict between the municipal government and the national government.”

Political division, he added, must not call for national division. “We could be diversified with our ideas, in our political affiliation but we are still one people. Let’s not destroy what’s working and has been working for us; which is our peace and our unity. Let’s work together as one people. Our differences shouldn’t divide us.”