Barely a week after he accuses president Adama Barrow’s coalition government of pocketing loans that the regime secured from foreign financial lenders, the leader of the Gambia Democratic Congress party (GDC’s) Mama Kandeh, was on Tuesday summoned for questioning at the police headquarters in Banjul, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Mr. Kandeh personally turned himself to the Serious Crime Division of the police force, after he was asked to report there, by one police detective, who goes with the last name Jallow.
The popular politician was confronted with a recent allegation he made against Barrow’s government that some officials of the regime, have started cashing in from the meager funds loaned to the government by some financial institutions. Kandeh, said our source, was disappointed by the conduct of the police. It was Kandeh’s contention during his police interview that the corruption allegations he raised in Essau, against the government was a political one, and hence he said it is not the police’s business to meddle into matters outside scope of their work.
A confident Mama Kandeh, said our source, told the police that had been that he was informed ahead of time; that he was going to be questioned about the loan abuse allegations, he made against the regime, he would not have wasted his precious time honoring their invitation. A furious Mama Kandeh told detectives that he has better things to take care of than commenting on matters, which doesn’t concern the police.
The Serious Crime officials tried to reassure Mr. Kandeh that his invitation to the police was not malicious. That, they the police just wanted to know if he has any evidence to substantiate his allegations so that an investigation can be commenced. Kandeh was also told that his invitation to the police should be treated as confidential, but the GDC leader stood his ground.
This followed, calls made by some supporters of the coalition government for the police to summon Kandeh for questioning. Information Minister Demba Ali Jawo told one of the local papers that for Kandeh’s allegations to be taken seriously, the politician must back it up with evidence. He said in the absence of evidence, Kandeh’s credibility would be on the line.
Kandeh, according to our source, raised the issue of the Kanilai protest march, in which one Haruna Jatta was shot and killed by the ECOMIG forces. He referenced Interior Minister Mai Fatty’s statement that “the protesters were armed with a traditional weapons.” Kandeh asked the police, why didn’t they invite Mr. Fatty for questioning upon making such an unsubstantiated statement. He said the police never had the courage to call Mai Fatty for questioning, but here he is being confronted by cops for trying to hold the government honest and accountable, said our source.
The GDC leader told cops that they also failed to invite Information Minister Demba Ali Jawo, for questioning for making a “false claims that rubber bullets” were used to fire at the Kanilai protesters. Kandeh said both Mr. Demba Jawo and Mai Fatty, had made false statements to the public and were never questioned by the police, said our source, who is familiar with the police probe.
Mr. Kandeh was briefly questioned and asked to leave. No charges have been filed against Kandeh.
He headed out to his brother’s Baobab Hotel, upon the completion of his police interview. Kandeh could not be reached for comment. The police spokesman was also indisposed for comment at the time of going to press.
The GDC Whatsapp chat group forum later received a message about the invitation of their leader to the police. Group members discussed the matter and vowed to protest in large numbers if their leader was ever detained by the police.
The leader of the opposition Gambia Democratic Congress Party (GDC’S) Mama Kandeh, has accused the Adama Barrow Coalition government of diverting loans the regime recently secured from multilateral financial institutions for personal use. Mr. Kandeh, speaking at a meeting held in Essau on Friday, charged that the officials of the Coalition government have been busy sharing among themselves the meager loans that the Gambia government had secured from financial institutions overseas. Kandeh did not mention the names of the officials he claimed were part of the alleged scheme to swindle loans secured by the new government from financial lenders.
“President Adama Barrow has admitted on record that he doesn’t know how to govern. He always referred to his team of technocrats, when confronted with questions about issues relating to the country, governance, and so forth. Adama is right… He has no clue about running a country. We know that. Adama Barrow is vulnerable.That’s why the folks, who surrounded him, are in a hurry to see him relinquish the presidency. They do not wish Adama Barrow well. They think that they are more worthy and qualified to occupy that office than Adama Barrow. Hence, that’s why they are all watching him to fail. You will never hear them making statements; help Adama to succeed; they just want to see him fail; so that Gambians can be disenchanted with his rule,” said Mama Kandeh in the Wolof dialect.
“In the meantime, they are busy signing loan agreements here and there. They are sharing the little money that we are getting from some of these financial institutions. They are not interested about the welfare of Gambians,” Kandeh alleged.
Mr. Kandeh also said the coalition government has exposed the Gambia, and her people, into more problems—citing the lack of leadership and honesty to steer the affairs of the country. He said the regime’s ineptness and care free attitude, is evident all over the place for Gambians to see for themselves. He urged Gambians to come together and shape the affairs of the country.
“ We as a country, should refuse to be dragged to the uncertain future; that’s where this government wants to take us. We are not heading towards the right direction. The situation we found ourselves today is much dire compared to the Jammeh political impasse,” Kandeh warned.
Mr. Kandeh also questioned the regime’s motive to amend the age limit associated with the office of the presidency, and Vice president. He said the Barrow government amended the said provision of the law in order to cater for some of the old spent political forces; one of whom, he said, was among the legal hacks, who crafted the law. He said the government amended the law without factoring the plight of the youths.
“These are political spent forces. They are only interested in ruling this country, when they have outlived their usefulness. There is gray hair all over their heads; old teeth; and they are overaged,” Kandeh jokingly mocked at Barrow’s cabinet adding: “They have changed the law, but had forgotten to cater for the age that the youths should attain before they would be qualified to contest an election. The law was amended purely to cater for the old people. We do not make allegations just for the sake of it. Anyone, who doubts us is free to engage us,” Kandeh said.
Mr. Kandeh noted that Gambia’s development is not guaranteed as along as the country continues to have such political hacks, who are at the helm of overseeing the situation of governance in the Gambia. He said the country needs honest, sincere and God-fearing leaders, and not selfish and greedy political class.
The Barrow government is yet to react to Kandeh’s allegations of pocketing loans given to the Gambia government by foreign financial institutions.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai