Damning allegations of financial impropriety involving the Army Chief of Defense Staff Major General Masaneh Kinteh, and his staff should be promptly investigated in the interest of justice and fair play. More and more revelations are pouring in at our news desk at this hour. These are disturbing revelations to say the least.
To do justice to the investigations, CDS Kinteh and his co-partners in alleged financial crimes should be suspended pending the outcome of the investigations. Their continued presence at the GAF headquarters will no doubt undermine the investigations.
For now, Kinteh and co are deemed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law. The observance of credible, transparent and unbiased investigations is sacrosanct as far as the matter at hand is concerned.
But at the same time, it is imperative to note that any internal meddling at GAF from the powers that be to frustrate or undermine the investigations should be stopped. We are talking about millions of dalasis allegedly going into the pockets of corruption GAF officers, vendors, and their collaborators at the Ministry of Finance.
So far, two GAF vendors have been named in the alleged financial racketeering. Malamin Manjang of Yundum, and one Samba Bah, AKA Batch of Kunkujang have been allegedly named.
The $70,000 dollars that was withdrawn from the GAF account at Trust Bank should be investigated as well. The funds were allegedly used to finance CDS Kinteh’s trip to Germany and Turkey, while the remainder of the funds’ whereabouts remains unknown.
The army is an important institution in our quest for stable and democratic Gambia. We cannot afford to have an army of corrupt and unprincipled officers. Corruption is a recipe for instability in Africa.
We have seen officers living lifestyles which doesn’t commensurate with their salaries. They owned multi-million dalasi mansions in town. They are also seen in town driving flashy cars. Yet the plight of the non-commissioned officer is shockingly unbelievable. Soldiers are living from hand to mouth; with very poor pay, while their superiors are busy living the good flamboyant lifestyle.
But our only fear is; whether the funds that have been earmarked for security reforms would be put into good use. In that, whether the funds would not land into the pockets of corrupt officers, and bureaucrats.
The fake invoicing story is a clear manifestation that there are alleged fraudsters at the Gambia Armed Forces headquarters, who should not be bestowed with the responsibility of managing cash or projects dealing with security reform.
No amount of security reform can render our country democratic and stable if corruption is not weeded out. Agents of corruption are the one fanning hunger, breakdown of rule of law, and human rights violations. The Gambia needs financial reform in our security sectors. We rest our case!