Gambia: Stop Undermining Janneh’s Commission

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Dear Editor,

Please allow me once again to express my disappointment and outrage about on going systematic attack on members of Janneh’s commission. I think it is outright shameful and deceptive to be attacking genuine citizens who are appointed by the new administration to investigate financial activities of former president and his closed associates. If there is one thing that should unite Gambians regardless of political ideology, I think it should be this commission of inquiry looking at financial embezzlement or outright daylight robbery that took place during the period of military dictatorship. For 22 years long years , Dictator Yaya Jammeh and closed associates were never accountable to anyone.

Dictator Jammeh not only used The Gambia’s meager resources as personal properties but also allowed his closed associates and business partners to enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary citizens who cannot afford three decent square meals. This should outrage and agitate every civilized and honest Gambian who care about economic development and better living conditions of citizenry.

Instead of expressing outrage about this disproportionate economic prostitution and corruptions over past two decades, we have seen recently so many fake articles on the front page of freedom newspaper designed to derail the efforts of members of the Janneh’s commission. One such recent fake and deceptive article titled ” Commissioner Saine is out of line” was written by So called Dr Isatou Sarr with the supreme desire to ridicule, caricature and intimidate Mr Saine for the job he is doing for the country. If Dr Isatou Sarr truly believe that she has factual evidence to implicate Mr Saine as a corrupt individual who shouldn’t be the member of the commission then she has every right to produce her evidence to the world but she has categorically failed to do so.

Dr Sarr was engaged in baseless, futile and malicious attack on innocent citizen. Produce evidence so that reasonable citizens will see the evidence to make informed decision about any allegation of corruption or abuse of office in the past or present. In the case of Mrs Amie Bensouda if she has legally represented the former president then she should resign from her position but so far there is no evidence to support that she represented the former president in the past. So why all the character assassination for political expediency?

Millions of dollars were stolen from the national treasury and there is no single noise from so called advocates who continue to blame or castigate ” Neocolonialism or tactical alliances ” for lack of electricity and water for the masses. If so called advocates truly care about our fundamental economic  and social problems, they would have organized protest or demonstration demanding recovery of stolen assets and money instead of shifting attention to inheriting water and electricity crisis. Where is the priority of these so called advocates who are undermining the Janneh’s commission efforts in order to protect few unscrupulous businessmen and failed to show concern about massive corruption and mismanagement the commission continue to expose?

It is quite troubling to see Dr Isatou Sarr to propagate malicious and untruthful statements when she claimed that: “First, Mr Samba is not Mr Saine’s age mate, second there is no basis for the insult and insinuation of wrong doing and conspiracy that Saine was inappropriately inferring. The man is a businessman and obviously will seek political closeness to the president in power to improve his business and enrich himself. That is not a crime. I think everyone in Gambia knows these 2 men – Samba and Jammeh are very close, that is not a crime”.

From the Dr Sarr’s comments, there is no iota of truth to indicate that Mr Saine insulted Mr Samba who has been implicated on different occasions about his participation in the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel. Mr Samba’s alleged involvement in the sale of the hotel was evidenced when Momodou Lamin Sonko and Lang Conteh both claimed that Mr Samba participated in the sell of Kairaba Beach Hotel and was the front man for Dictator Jammeh.
Dr Isatou Sarr was not happy about the questioning of Mr samba when she falsely implied that Mr Saine was “conspiringly” insinuating wrong doing of Mr Samba. That was unfair and dishonest propaganda. The job of this commission members is to ask relevant questions about financial activities of Jammeh and his closed associates.

Therefore, it is very important for this commissioners to ask open-ended questions as well as follow-up questions to elicit better answers about financial activities or irregularities of any transaction. Dr Isatou Sarr’s  statement which stated that “Mr Samba was businessman and obviously will seek political closeness to the former president in power to improve his business and enrich himself”,  is not only a heartfelt endorsement of business favors from the office of presidency but it also clearly shows that Dr Sarr approved all corrupt business practices and mismanagement that Mr Amadou Samba and many of Jammeh’s closed associates has done for self enrichment in the past 22 years. This is the most irresponsible and deceptive statement I have ever heard from any Gambian who claims to care for rule of law, democracy and economic development.

Dr Sarr’s statement of endorsement for businessmen seeking closeness to the office of president for self enrichment is also a reflection of what has happened in The Gambia during military dictatorship when some businessmen and intellectuals have used their closeness to Dictator Jammeh not only to maintain their positions or enrich themselves at the expense of Gambian people but they have also shown no concern for human rights violations , corruptions and economic deterioration.

If Mr Samba was truly an economic patriot, he would have never associated himself with Jammeh who did not only robbed and confiscated the money retirees had saved to take care of themselves and their poor families but also used corrupt business practices to build and sustain his political and economic interests over the years . Dictator Jammeh’s longevity in power was direct consequences of corrupt business practices and economic exploitation of Gambian people. As a result of this senseless, greedy and selfish behavior, The Gambian people were worst off today than in 1994 when Jammeh and his gang of criminals illegally overthrew democratically elected government of The Gambia.

As Gambians, we must all be united to recover our resources which are stolen by few citizens and non-citizens who falsely claimed to be ” self made millionaires” before and after Jammeh came to power. This commission is not a witch hunt but it is a constitutional exercise which will lay the foundation for accountability and transparency in business sector and government. When we recover those assets and money from various accounts within and outside the country, they can be utilized to improve the lives of ordinary citizens. All the constant agitations and propaganda should gear towards recovery of the stolen assets and money for the masses. This is what ordinary citizens care about . Fake propaganda designed for Protection of few selfish business people and cronies of former regime will never succeed. The truth shall set us free . Let justice guide our actions towards the common good.

Thank you.

Written By Max

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