By Abdoulie John
A prominen Gambian civil society activist wants President Adama Barrow to set up an independent inquiry commission tasked with looking into the economic crimes committed of the former regime officials.
“This thing cannot be done in peacemeal,” Madi Jobarteh concurs. “I think the government needs to put up some permanent independent mechanism to look into financial activities of the Alliance for Patriotic Construction and Re-orientation (APRC) regime.”
Madi Jobarteh’s comments come at a time when the Finance and Economic Affairs Ministry released series of malpractices allegedly committed by longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh.
Jobarteh said a commission of inquiry that is manned by individuals should be established on a clear set of rules. “This would help to generate confidence in the findings they make,” Jobarteh adds.
A recent Finance Ministry investigation has found loopholes in the country’s Central Bank as evidenced by the withdrawal of almost US$50 million by Yahya Jammeh’s ‘errand boys.’
Jobarteh thinks the creation of an independent commission will help people to understand that government is not engaged in witch hunting or trying to demonize members of the former regime.
Jobarteh thinks the might “need various types of commissions to deal with various aspects of the past regime.”
As Gambians are yet to recover from the shock of financial mismanagements by the Jammeh regime, the renowned civil society activist pushes for the indictment of the trio (Sanna Jarjue, Nuha Williams and Sulayman Badjie) for making astronomical withdrawals on behalf of former President. “They need to be invited by the police to help them in their investigation.”
Jobarteh decries the way and manner former Gambia government flouted basic procedures as well as ransacked the Central Bank.
“Our Central Bank, which is the main bank of the nation, was involved in illegal and criminal activity,” Jobarteh says. He says the Gambia’s legal tender is the Dalasi and the idea of an individual going to the Central Bank to withdraw foreign currencies is absolutely illegal.
“For the Head of State to make that kind of withdrawals, especially through individuals who don’t have the authority is unconventional and unacceptable.”
He describes as fraudulent activity the misappropriations of funds that continues to affect the supply of money that keep the economy booming.
“This is not a surprise to me, because the APRC regime was a dictatorship that did not operate according to the rule of law.”
The tiny West African nation continues to be in the spotlight as Barrow’s new government is putting up development efforts to overcome the huge challenges the country is faced with. The commitment of development partners such as World Bank and IMF is expected to help the new regime deliver on its promises.