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Over Kenema Council 2015 budget…

Chief Administrator writes Finance Minister

February 27, 2014 By Mohamed Massaquoi

Chief Administrator of the Kenema City Council (KCC) has written an official letter to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, copying the Director of Local Government Finance Department and the Minister of Local Government, among other stakeholders, in relation to the council’s 2015 budget which has since been withheld by parliament, Concord Times has learnt.

A source from the Finance Ministry disclosed that the KCC 2015 budget had been prepared and forwarded to the Accountant General’s office but only to be subsequently removed from the system on the alleged instructions of certain officials on the pretext that the Mayor of the Kenema City Council, Joseph Samba Keifala, was still being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The letter from the KCC Chief Administrator, Daniel Saa Momoh, which was seen by Concord Times, exclusively pointed out the transfers of local council grants for development functions and other grants for the first quarter of 2015, which have not been remitted into their council’s account.

“May I refer to your memorandum dated 11th February, 2015 addressed to me, copies of which were extended to other personalities hinging on the above subject and to acknowledge receipt. In accordance with the second paragraph of your memo, it was stated that these funds were to be paid into the bank accounts of local councils that have met the conditions that qualify them to access quarter-one funds as follows: submission of approved budget for 2015, submission of approved procurement plan for 2012, submission of third and fourth quarters petra financial statements for 2014, and the third and fourth quarters technical progress report for 2014 among others,” the letter reads.

“In view of this, the Kenema City Council met the above requirements but the council was excluded and did not receive any transfers for devolved functions and other grants for [the] first quarter.”

Moreover, Public Relations Officer of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Alhassan Kargbo, has confirmed to Concord Times that the commission is investigating the matter between the KCC Mayor, Joseph Keifala and some members of parliament over the corruption allegations made against some lawmakers by the Mayor.

However, Mr. Kargbo said their investigation has nothing to do with the [withholding of the] council’s budget, noting that they will soon come out with a public statement regarding the matter.

“I will not make a definitive statement as to when we will come out with a report but definitely we will inform the public soon,” he said.

It could be recalled that councillors of the KCC had earlier written a protest letter to key stakeholders, including the Speaker of Parliament, against the failure by parliament to release their 2015 budget.

Councillor Anthony Forney said it was unfair for members of the Sub-Appropriation Committee to have taken a blanket decision against their institution by withholding their budget.

“We are also representatives of our people and our responsibility is to embark on developmental projects in our respective communities,” said the councillor. “We need these funds now because we believe the council has done nothing wrong.”

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