BRIKAMA AREA COUNCIL SAGA REMAINS UNRESOLVED

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By Louise Jobe 

This is a case of the Brikama Area Council (BAC) wanting the dismissal of over fifteen (15) employees and on the other hand, the Local Government Service Commission wanting to ensure due process is followed.

 BAC wants the Service Commission to dismiss 14 revenue collectors and two top senior officials of the Council – the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Finance Director based on allegations of abuse of office and misconduct.

The controversy remains unresolved as the Service Commission indicated its resolute to afford all parties the right to fair hearing before a decision is reached. It is a matter of BAC wanting the immediate dismissal of the employees while the Service Commission maintains its position that it will dig into the matter before concluding.

BAC passed a resolution to send the staff on administrative leave without salary. Also, they passed a resolution to dismiss the CEO and Finance Director.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of BAC, Lamin Singhateh, in an interview on Monday, 11 December 2023 said the resolutions were passed based on the allegations of misconduct and abuse of office about financial transactions by CEO Modou Jonga and Director of Finance Alhagie Jeng.

PRO Singhateh stated that the general council could only pass a resolution as per the policy framework because they know that they are only limited to making recommendations. He added that they cannot remove, dismiss or discipline any staff. He maintained that it was the reason why they sent their resolutions to the Service Commission because the Council deemed it necessary to remove the CEO and Director of Finance.

He said the Director of Finance was served a letter to refrain from work because he allegedly works with his family members including his biological son. For PRO Singhateh, that is unethical.

 Singhateh explained that the council was later invited by the Local Government Service Commission to a meeting and they were told clearly that the Council has no mandate to either remove or dismiss any staff of an Area Council. He said the Service Commission relied on Section 48 subsection 3 of the Local Government Act. He said the Service Commission advised the Council staff or members to refrain from conflict with the people they are accusing pending the outcome of their findings.

 He said BAC appointed Ebrima Sawaneh and Yaya Bah to replace the CEO and the Director of Finance as signatories to the Council accounts.

 CEO Modou Jonga in an interview dismissed the the allegations of incompetency and abuse of office ;evelled against him by the general council. He added that the allegations are unfounded and misleading.  The CEO said he is aware of the resolution of the area council, but he knows that the Service Commission is the legally mandated authority to take such decisions. He added that this is why he will continue to report to work. CEO Jonga challenged the people making allegations against him to provide evidence.

 “If you make allegations against someone, you have to make it your responsibility to prove it by providing evidence to the people or authority responsible. It is very irresponsible to make allegations that you cannot substantially prove,” he said.

Jonga insists that he remains the CEO and the people wanting him to go should go to the Service Commission and prove the claims made against him.

CEO Jonga said the office of the Local Government Service Commission informed the chairman to desist from implementing the resolution of the council. 

 When asked about his official vehicle issue, he said the matter was with the Police and that he did not want to say anything about it. 

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