In a bid to respond to their concerns put in a letter that was addressed to him, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Amb. Tamba Lamina, has engaged 49 Councillors from the Freetown City Council (FCC) in a meeting he described as “an informative session” meeting.
It could be recalled that couple of days ago, Councillors of the FCC wrote a letter to the Local Government Minister requesting for the immediate transfer of the Chief Administrator of the Council, Festus Kallay. The letter further stated that if their demands were not met within 14days, they would engage into a strike action together with their supporters.
In his statement during the meeting, Minister Lamina acknowledged the receipt of their letter and maintained that their concerns came at a time when the Ministry had already set up an investigative team to probe into the administration of the said Council within the next three weeks. He added that the administrative investigation came as a result of the complaints and counter-complaint letters his Ministry received from the Mayor, Chief Administrator and the general public about the impasse in the Council.
“As a Ministry, we have units that deal with specific issues of local governance. As such, the Local Government Service Commission was assigned to settle the dispute amicably, but its efforts proved futile. Again, it is worth noting that issues of this nature are resource driven, which was why it took the Ministry some time before setting up the investigative team,” he explained.
He reiterated the Government’s commitment to having peaceful Local Councils and entreated the Councillors to exercise patience and support the administrative investigation team to be able to do their work diligently within the time frame.
He read the terms of reference of the investigations to the Councillors and assured that the investigative team would do due diligence to the process because they are reputable Sierra Leoneans who pride themselves in peace and stability of the country, adding that the Ministry would implement all the recommendations of the investigations and make FCC a peaceful Council just like the others.
In his response, Councillor Sheku Gibrill Alhassan Turay, expressed concern over the time the Ministry took to respond to the issues and requested that the terms of reference be shared amongst them so as to be able to know the angles of the investigations.
The meeting ended with a parting remark from the Deputy Minister of MLGRD, Melrose Karminty, who joined the Minister to call on the Councillors to support the investigative process in their Council.