Barrow says LG Commission designed to strengthen good governance

Barrow says LG Commission designed to strengthen good governance

Speaking during the swearing-in ceremony of members of the Commission of Inquire to investigate the conduct of local government councils, President Adama Barrow explained that the decision is in line with his government’s determination to strengthen institutions through good governance.

Speaking at the State House on Friday, the president stated that to serve the nation better, it is an exercise that must extend beyond Central Government to include public institutions at the decentralised level.  

President Barrow explained that the government bears a statutory oversight obligation over Councils.   He added that the setting up of the Commission of Inquiry is the result of complaints from four Councils about alleged financial and administrative irregularities.

“Guided by Section 200 of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, I deem it necessary to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the alleged irregularities. In discharging our responsibilities as a government, we are committed to the principles of accountability and transparency, thus we have to take proper steps to strengthen professionalism in all public institutions, including Local Councils.” 

He said the task of the commission includes conducting a holistic and fair review of the financial and administrative operations of Councils, with the objective of improving their governance and service delivery components, based on standard procedures.

He emphasised that establishing the Commission of Inquiry is apt, considering the nature of the irregularities brought to the government’s attention.  

“To provide evidence in support of this line of action, the Ministry of Lands, Regional Government, and Religious Affairs received complaints from four Local Councils about alleged financial and administrative irregularities.  Almost two months into the 2023 fiscal year, for example, the Banjul City Council is yet to submit its annual budget for scrutiny by the Ministry, as provided for by the Local Government Finance and Audit Act 2004.”

At the Kanifing Municipal Council, he stated that there have not been a Chief Executive Officer and Director of Finance for nearly two years. He added that oversight measures, including a court ruling and directives from the Local Government Service Commission to institute suitable redress procedures, are still being hindered. 

“The Terms of Reference of the Commission of Inquiry into the Conduct of Local Councils aim at providing Government with informed policy choices for effective Local Government reform and a functional decentralisation framework. The task of the Commission is to investigate and present its report within three months to guide the government on the adoption of relevant policy and administrative options.”

Jainaba Bah-Sambou, the chairperson of the commission, expressed delight in entrusting her with the leadership of the commission, while acknowledging that the task is a great responsibility and promised to serve. She further thanked the president’s leadership to serve the country and said: “We are humbled by the selection and grateful”.

Source: The Point

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