From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
APC Councilors want Winstanley Johnson out!!!
By Our Reporter
Jan 10, 2008, 17:40

Some 25 councilors mostly from the ruling All People’s Congress (APC), out of the current sitting 29 Councillors want the Mayor of Freetown his Worship Mayor Winstanley Bankole Johnson kicked out of office.

This is according to the Councilors involved including from the opposition SLPP who spoke to Awareness Times yesterday.

The impeachment effort to unseat the Mayor yesterday resulted in a delegation of the APC councilors and at least one SLPP Councillor, calling on the Ministry of Local government to intimate that office, under the purview of which local government institutions fall, about the reasons for the move.

Embattled City Father

Another meeting with VP Sam-Sumana was inconclusive but another meeting between the Vice President and the Councilors has been slated for today, Thursday 10th January 2008 to which the Mayor has been invited for his own side of the story.

The full text of the letter calling for the dismissal of the Mayor, titled "REMOVAL "FROM OFFICE OF THE MAYOR"

The Honourable Minister of Local Government,

Youyi Building,

Freetown

Copy: His Excellency the President

" The Honourable Vice President

" : National Secretary General, APC 
                                                                            January2008

Dear Sir,                                                                

Removal from office of the Mayor

"We the under mentioned Councilors of the Freetown City Council write to register our gross displeasure on the poor performance of the Mayor, Councillor Winstanley Bankole Johnson.

"Since his assumption of Office he has on diverse occasions treated Council and Councillors with gross contempt and disregard and has further violated the Local "Government Act 2004 with gross impunity.

Furthermore he has not been working in concert with Councillors, thereby causing complete break down in communication thus leading to the non-functionality of councils work.

"We have on countless occasions called his attention, laid stresses at public meetings on his behaviour within and outside the Council, this has also has treated with disregard and with total arrogance.

"Other avenues have been exploited to help salvage the situation but he still could not comply.

"Based on the above mentioned issue we are left with no other alternative but to seek his urgent removal from office as is provided for in S12 (1) of the Local Government Act 2004.

"We are therefore outlining some of the reasons why we believe that we cannot work further with this Mayor if the Council is to progress.

"Abuse of office: corruption and gross incompetence

(1) In violation of S19(4) the Mayor decided to arrogated to himself the position of Chairman Foreign Relations Committee, a Committee which has never met since the inception of Council.

(2) Taking unilateral decisions on behalf of Council without the consent of Councillors eg. He single handedly refused to accept some development officers to the Council who were deployed by the Decentralisation Secretariat.

(3) He also single handedly refused dialogue between Council and NACSA despite their willingness to execute working relationship with the Freetown City Council; the same goes for SLRA.

(4) He further, in abuse of his office turned down GTZ’s offer to help develop the infrastructure of Freetown and their collaboration their collaboration to help in the cleaning of the municipality.

(5) He on certain instances cancelled tenants lease agreements without regard for law and procedure eg. Kalonzo.

(6) The Mayor decided to change the Assessment Committee’s decision of two million five hundred thousand leones (Le 2,500,000) as fees for property leased to Hizbullah to a colossal nine million leones (Le 9,000,000) for the piece of land at 137 Kissy Road without the consent of the Committee’s chairman and members.

(7) On the issue of the City Hall, a structure plan was drawn and a consultancy fee of eighty nine million leones (Le89, 000,000) was paid; bid for the demolition of the present structure were opened and a contract awarded for a sum of one Billion Leones without Council’s approval.

(8) Amistad expenditure was not authorized.

(9) Money to the tune of one million pounds was unilaterally withdrawn from Council overseas funds, paid into an account at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, expended to finish without the approval and consent of Council. The Crown Agent issue.

(10) Money meant for community development/needs assessment for 2005 and 2006 have not been utilised for its required purpose.

(11) He has ceased to hold Council’s monthly meeting as of October 2007 thereby contravening the conditions of the Local Government Act of 2004.

(12) He also without the consent of Council purchased a generator for Le 25,000,000 (twenty Five Million Leones) by issuing two separate cheques of ten and fifteen Million Leones.

(13) He without the consent of Council renewed and extended the Lease Agreement of Council property to Balanta Music Academy for an unknown amount.

(14) He has rendered the Budget Finance Committee redundant. Thus expending Council’s money as he wishes.

(15) He has refused to publish monthly financial accounts and bank balances on the Council Notice Board as stipulated on S107 (1) of the Local Government Act 2004.

(16) He issued cheques to himself on a couple of occasions from the Solid Waste Management Fund.

(17) His confrontational attitude has caused the Council to lose Euro 1.2m from GTZ. Also he cannot completely negotiate on behalf of Council e.g. with NASCA, SLRA and other line Ministries.

(18) In one of the meetings prior to the devolution of the management of the solid waste held at the Ministry of Finance he openly quarreled with the Deputy Minister of Finance II thereby grounding the meeting to an abrupt end.

(19) Under these headings we as a Council have noticed that he cannot relate with other stakeholders in the City without rancour.

"FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT DECISIONS OF COUNCIL AS STATED IN THE ACT

(I) Majority of the decisions taken at Council meetings has not been implemented; the Council’s minutes could serve as evidence.

(II) The decision to open a line of communication with NACSA and SLRA has been willfully ignored by the Mayor, stating that he cannot go into dialogue with people below his status.

(III) He has refused to fast track the renovation of some Municipal Schools and markets as have been recommended by the responsible committee.

(IV) He has also refused to implement the decision to make the Council’s works yard functional.

"Hon, Minister Sir, all the above mentioned issues are some of the major abuses of the Mayor which has crippled the Council’s machinery.

"The Freetown City Council is being run by the Mayor as a sole proprietorship this is evident in the fact that after three and a half years in office Council cannot boast of major land marks and achievement. We the under signed do not think it prudent to continue working with this man that has created so much problems and enemies for Council that have been detrimental to the progress of this great Municipality.

"We are therefore advocating the expeditious removal of the Mayor from office.

"Thanking you in anticipation."

This document was signed by 25 out of 29 councilors of the Freetown City Council.



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