The above clarifications by the Ministry must be welcomed. It should have been done at the time of Mr Kurang’s contract termination announcement. As they have stated, that the Commission operates like a civil court, its integrity and jurisprudence are essential and must not be compromised hence the need for clarity and accountability in its operations. The clarifications produced by the Ministry still raises further questions and some of the issues raised by Mr Kurang remained unaddressed and are still a concern.
I would like to disagree that Mr Kurang being “…basically an executioner…” and “…in a position of neutrality…” must not as a result flag out wrong activities when he sees them or asked to execute them. With regards to the issue of expenditure and foreign travel, the Ministry has not addressed what Kurang raised. If the Ministry has in fact been authorising travels and expenditures, they should have been cognisant of the need for travels to be based on functions (and fairly) but where only people from Amie’s Chambers are seen to be benefiting most, then that is problematic and Mr Kurang is right to flag it. What is in fact most serious is the fact that staff salaries have not been paid despite the expensive travels.
It can be a case that issues of conflicts of interest should not be raised by Kurang. However, where they appear to be interfering or influencing the operations / administration of the Commission, particularly Mr Kurang’s functions, then he has the right to do so.
The Ministry should be in a better position to know that conflicts of interest may not necessarily be as a result direct dealings or association with Yahya Jammeh as they appear to mean. There has been indirect relationships here which can taint an individual’s position and these have been demonstrated by Mr Kurang. The Ministry argued that “…it must be demonstrated that Counsel Amie derived personal benefit from her position as Counsel to the Commission vis-a-vis her past engagement with the said organizations or that she was instructed by a potential adverse party in connection to a matter currently under investigation.” This may not be possible in the present circumstances. A number of transactions (brought before the Commission) have been cited by Alhagie Kurang which Amie was a party to and facilitator of those transactions. Nonetheless, the instance when Amie sought guidance re conflicts of interest have to be applauded but there should have been extensive review of the matter.
The Ministry’s position that “this Inquiry is for the benefit of Government institutions…” can be very misleading and is worrying. Many and very serious financial misappropriations have taken place and to say that they are for the benefits of government institutions only may mean efforts to deflect justice.
Regarding the sale of assets, their explanation as to who ordered the sales not to proceed are understood. Being the Secretary to the Commission, necessary documentations to this effect should have been provided to Mr Kurang. Where this has not been the case then he will have to act on the internal politics and the only evidences before him which were that Talib Bensouda expressed interests in the tractors. That said, there is absolutely nothing confusing between Amie’s frustrations of the sale and Talib’s interest in the tractors. In fact it is the contrary; that Amie was frustrating the sales to give advantage to her son. So the Ministry must not be seen to be putting wool over people’s faces with flowery statements.
On the issue of procedural and management arrangements within the Commission, if Mr Kurang has not consulted his colleagues and the Commissioners about the issues he raised, then that should be regretted. Nonetheless, it should not also mean that where serious issues have been raised his procedural mistakes should bar any relevant redress.