Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai
Many have been wondering as to why President Adama Barrow, hasn’t implemented some of the recommendations of the Janneh Commission report, which had indicted his Finance Minister Mamburay Njie, current serving officials and former officials of the Jammeh administration for official corruption and abuse of office, but according to The Gambian leader, his decision to pardon Mamburay and co, including his indicted opponents in the opposition, was done in the best interest of the country, Freedom Newspaper can report. Barrow says it is not in Gambia’s best interest to prosecute Mamburay Njie and co.
“There is no commission of enquiry that government will approve all their recommendations one hundred percent. Is not anywhere. Even the recommendations that they made, we accepted seventy five percent of the recommendation. Even the commissioners themselves they were surprised, they were very happy, they were celebrating that government have approved seventy five percent of their recommendation and we are implementing them. But in democracy, as you implement, then we have challenges, people are going to court now challenging certain issues that would affect the whole lot of the commission’s recommendations. We cannot overrule that, we have to wait for the outcome of the court process, that is what is happening. We started implementing but now things are going to the courts. So, we have to wait for the outcome of the court processes,” an incoherent Barrow told QTV, a privately own Gambian television station.
Finance Minister Mamburay Njie, Secretary General Nuha Touray, and Chief Protocol Officer Alhagie Ousman Ceesay, all former Jammeh close aides, have been banned from holding public office by the Janneh commission. The commission has also recommendation criminal charges to be filed against them, on their role in aiding and abetting dictator Jammeh in stealing millions of dollars from the state.
But Barrow thinks that the commission has gone too far. He has decided to use his Executive powers to overrule the commission that he has set up to probe the financial malpractices of the former Jammeh administration. Millions of dalasis were spent to facilitate the operations of that commission.
But Barrow has decided not to implement the commission’s recommendations to prosecute his Finance Minister and co. He cited national interest to support his decision.
“There are other recommendations that we didn’t implement. We look at them and see what is good for this country. Moving forward, there are other recommendation against other institutions and those institutions are my opposition, we say no, it is not fair to them. Go and look at it, they are institutions that recommendations were against them, institutions that are part of my opposition, but we say no, it is not fair, we will not implement them,” Barrow told QTV.
Barrow added that before arriving at such a decision, he sat with his cabinet, and advisers, where they concluded that implementing the commission’s recommendations against his Finance Minister and co wouldn’t be in the best interest of the country.
“As a government, as a team, team of advisers, and everybody, we look at some of these things, we look at the interest of The Gambia, there are certain recommendations that we feel that they are not in the best interest of the country. That’s why we didn’t implement those ones. They are many of them, twenty five percent of them, we reject them, we feel that they are not in the best interest of this country. I think the interest of this country, the interest of The Gambian people, is more important,” he pointed out.
Barrow had this message for his critics, who have accused him of legalizing corruption:
“Sometimes because we went through twenty-two years, everybody saying this should happen, this should happen. It is not like that. It is not easy to run a government Alieu, there are a lot of recommendations in that document, but people are not looking at those, they are just looking at soft areas,” he added.
Barrow said it is about time for Gambians to move on and adopt to the new democratic dispensation, adding that the era of witching hunt is over in the country.
He said he has been tolerating his critics, some of whom have been indicted for official corruption and are members of the opposition. He added he could have retaliated and drag them to court on corruption related charges, because according to Barrow, “there is an adverse commission recommendation against them.”
“I think that the Minister of Finance is somebody, maybe who is helping the President, he is loyal to him, that is why he helped him, but there are opposition, there are recommendations against them, we didn’t implement the recommendation. There are people, who are insulting me today, there are recommendations against them, we didn’t implement them. I don’t want to mention names or else I will mention names. We would have drag them to court, by this time, they should have been in prison. They are insulting me in this country. But it is not like that and if you are head of state, you have to be tolerant, if you are a leader, you have to be tolerant, but hence based on principle, we didn’t put them in our white paper, I don’t want to revise back and said they are against me, I should take them to court or because it was in the recommendation, now they are my opposition, they are insulting me, I should revise the clock, no, me, I am not vindictive. I don’t think that way,” Barrow remarked.
The unnamed opposition supporter, that Barrow mentioned, is Momodou Sabally. Sabally was among the former Jammeh officials indicted by the Janneh Commission for corruption and abuse of office. He is a strong supporter of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP). Sabally has recently branded Barrow and his government as squirrels, bent on looting the coffers of the state.