The Report of the Janneh Commission Should be Implemented Accordingly
Written by Ebou Ngum in Columbus Ohio
Mr. Editor, amidst the roaring thunderstorm about the JannehCommission Report, it is my fervent hope that the findings of the Commission be implemented to the letter. In the years 1995 – 1997, I was one of the stenographers (court reporters) at the then Public Assets and Recoveries Commission. The mandate of theCommission at the time was to investigate the assets of the lateSir Dawda Jawara, his cabinet Ministers and heads of government departments and parastatals. Many of them came to the Commission to declare their assets and those deemed to have acquired so many properties suffered so much. Some of those properties were confiscated to the state. There were other Commissions investigating different things at the time. So if Yahya Jammeh’s Commissions could submit a report to him and he acted in one way or the other, the findings of the JannehCommission should not be anything strange to comprehend.
Now, there is a lot of hullabaloo about the government doing selective justice by vindicating some of the current Ministerswho served in the Jammeh era and now indicted by the Commission. Well, that is the prerogative of the President and I am not giving the government credit for not acting on the recommendations of the Commission against any person thought to have aided Yahya Jammeh not only loot the Gambian people but also helped him advance the cause of dictatorship in the Gambia.
The point I am trying to make is that no financial institution or person indicted by the Commission should be given special preference. The Gambia suffered 22 years of dictatorship and all those that aided and abetted Yahya Jammeh gave a deaf ear to his brutality and continued to help him remain in power which gave him the latitude to continue to kill Gambians.
It is right for any one person or business to blab about suing the government to contest the findings of the Commission because they were adversely affected. It is also fair to argue that any person(s) or business found wanting in helping Yahya Jammehloot the Gambian people be held accountable accordingly. Irrespective of the fact that he was a dictator and no one would dare challenge him, the persons or banks that helped him launder money are all culpable. The Gambian taxpayer had to bear the brunt of the cost of the Janneh Commission and for that matter, no person or business indicted should make a mockery of the Commission’s findings to the extent of flexing muscles about one’s might or the 168 bututs contribution in some sectors of the Gambian economy.
The Gambia government has a role to play in ensuring that the Gambia’s laundered funds during the Jammeh era are recovered to the letter of the law. Of course, anyone person or business adversely mentioned in the report has a right to go hire a lawyer to contest the findings of the Commission in a court of law. What is important to take note is that those that are thought to have contributed in helping Yayha Jammeh prolong his stay made it easy for him to continue to slaughter Gambians. Also, his 22 years rule resulted in him looting the country’s limited resources at will. Jammeh also gave a known terrorism financier(Mohammed Bazzi) a safe haven in the Gambia and access to the Gambian people’s money of course with help from the banking sector.