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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 13 Mar 2023 : 12:23:41
Hundreds march in UDP anti-corruption demo
March 13, 2023
By Omar Bah
Hundreds of UDP supporters Friday marched through the capital Banjul to protest against what they say is endemic corruption in the country.
Last week, the inspector general of police, in a rare move, granted the UDP youth wing permit to hold the protest.
“This is the first time the government has granted UDP a permit for more than 27 years. We used to apply but the government never accepted. I thank the youth wing who took the steps in applying for the permit,” UDP leader Ousainu Darboe, said ahead of the protest.
He described the event as “a positive development” that could be “a turning point in the country’s political landscape”.
The protesters flanked by riot police waved anti-corruption banners and chanted: “Corruption is crippling our economy. Mr president, more than a dozen serious corruption cases await you. You cannot close your eyes, treat all audit recommendations seriously and prosecute all corrupt officials!”
Before the commencement of the procession, deputy UDP leader, Aji Yam Secka, and other leaders of the party advised the protesters to be disciplined and respect the conditions given by the police.
Lawyer and former UDP parliamentarian, Ya Kumba Jaiteh told the journlists: “Enough is enough. The youths of this country have decided to stand up and safeguard their future and resources.”
Speaking shortly before delivering a petition addressed to the attorney general and the speaker of the National Assembly, Binta Senghore, president of the UDP female youth wing said the main objective of the protest is to demand greater transparency and accountability from the president and his government.
“We are calling on the government to design a robust anti-corruption institutional framework anchored on laws with a three-pronged – prevention, investigation and prosecution – strategy against corruption that will inspire public officials to carry out their work conscientiously for the public good,” Senghore said.
In the detailed petition, the protesters demanded that the government and the National Assembly take the fight against corruption seriously. They urged the president to issue a certificate of urgency to expedite the passing of the Anti-Corruption Bill.
The petitioners also highlighted the high cost of living and the raft of recent financial scandals and urged the government to address the sleaze and graft suffocating it.
“We urged the government to direct the auditor general to conduct special audit exercises in all corruption related matters and ensure the Ministry of Justice and police investigate, prosecute, and sanction the people found wanting,” the petition added.
Shortly after receiving the petition on behalf of the justice minister, Solicitor General Hussein Thomasi said the government is committed to the fight against corruption.
He stated: “It was the government’s initiative to bring the Anti-Corruption Bill before the National Assembly. It is now at an advanced stage and we are all hopeful that soon it will become law. So, the government has a zero tolerance for corruption.”
|2 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 13 Mar 2023 : 19:15:06
UDP youth wing calls for designing of ‘robust anti-corruption’ institutional framework
The Point: Mar 13, 2023
By: Pa Modou Cham
After a successful and peaceful protest against corruption in the country, the United Democratic Party (UDP) Youth Wing called on The Gambia government to design a robust anti-corruption institutional framework anchored on laws with a three-pronged (prevention, investigation and prosecution) strategy against corruption that would inspire public officials to carry out their work conscientiously for the public good.
In a petition to the government, the youth wing stated: “It is within this context that the UDP Youth Wing is writing this petition conscious of the principle that President Barrow led Government eloquently expressed in the Janneh Commission Report White Paper thus: “the Government has not lost sight of the prevailing governance environment created by former President Jammeh at the time.”
The young protesters stated that in most cases, members of the business community, in their dealings with former President Jammeh, were motivated by sheer greed and opportunism; while those who served in public office were mostly motivated by a combination of fear and self-preservation.
The anti-corruption protest has also called on the government to also take into account the fact that The Gambia is currently going through a “fragile political transition to democratic rule” after over two decades of authoritarian rule, reminding the government of its main objective, as reflected in this White Paper, on the recovery of monies stolen and/or misappropriated from the State by former President Jammeh, his family members and close associates.
“It is the submission of the humble petitioners that the governance environment created by former dictator Jammeh has not changed and his closest political associates have been appointed to the leadership of the National Assembly. This undermines the transitional justice process. The recovery of monies stolen and or misappropriated from the state has so far not been transparently explained to the people or satisfactorily accounted for by the Barrow Government.”
||Posted - 13 Mar 2023 : 12:47:31
To: His Excellency Mr. Adama Barrow, 10th March 2023
President of the Republic of the Gambia
No, 1 Marina Parade, State House,
Banjul, The Gambia
To: Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta
The Speaker of the National Assembly
of the Republic of the Gambia
No. 1 Reginald Pye Lane
Banjul the Gambia
Re: Anti-Corruption Petition Submitted to
the Gambia Government
Concerned about the seriousness of the problems and threats posed by corruption and
impunity to the stability and security of societies, to the integrity of institutions, the values of
democracy, ethics and justice as well as to sustainable development and the rule of law;
Concerned also about the links between corruption and other forms of crime, in particular
organized crime and economic crime, including money- laundering;
Concerned further about cases of corruption that involve vast quantities of assets, which may constitute a substantial proportion of the resources of States, and that threaten the political stability and sustainable development of those States;
Convinced that the illicit acquisition of personal wealth can be particularly damaging to
democratic institutions, national economies, and the rule of law;
Cognisant of the principles of proper management of public affairs and public property,
fairness, responsibility and equality before the law and the need to safeguard integrity and to
foster a culture of rejection of corruption;
Determined to build partnerships between the Government and all segments of civil society,
in particular political parties, youth and the media to fight the scourge of corruption.
Recalling the Declaration adopted by the 1st session of the Assembly of the African Union in
July 2002, relating to the New Partnership for Africa`s Development (NEPAD), which calls for
the setting up of a coordinated mechanism to combat corruption effectively;
Bearing in mind that the prevention and eradication of corruption is a responsibility of all
States Parties under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and of
which The Gambia has been a State Party since 8 July 2015;
Recalling Article 5 (2) of the UNCAC, which provides that Each State Party shall endeavour
to establish and promote effective practices aimed at the prevention of corruption;
Further recalling Article 6 (1) of the UNCAC which enjoins each State Party to ensure the
existence of a body that prevents corruption;
Bearing in mind that The Gambia is a State Party to the 2003 African Union Convention on
Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC).
Recalling Article 3(5) of the AUCPCC, which enjoins States parties to condemn and reject
acts of corruption, related offences, and impunity;
Further Recalling Article 5(3) of the AUCPCC, which enjoins States Parties to establish,
maintain and strengthen independent national anti-corruption authorities;
Taking note of Article 10 of the UCPCC, which requires States Parties to adopt legislative and
other measures to proscribe the use of corruptly acquired funds to finance political parties
and to incorporate the principle of transparency into funding of political parties; and
Recognising the duty of every citizen under section 220 (1) (f) of the 1997 Constitution to
protect and preserve public property and expose and combat the misuse and waste of public funds and property.
The UDP Youth Wing’s decision to hold a Peaceful Procession against Corruption today
March 10, 2023, creates a historic opportunity for the Gambia Government to address the
national crisis of corruption. The principal reason for this peaceful protests is to demand
greater transparency and accountability from the President Adama Barrow led governmen The UDP Youth Wing believes that the tide of world opinion has turned against corruption,
and the international development community is today far less tolerant of it than they were in
the past. There is now unanimity that corruption is detrimental to the interests of society in
general, and the poor in particular, and its eradication has become the highest priority of a
number of multilateral and intergovernmental organisations.
The UDP Youth Wing is united in the conviction that it is of the utmost urgency for the Gambia Government to put an end to the abuse of office by fully investigating and prosecuting all public official and organisations accused of wrongdoing. A piecemeal approach or selective justice strategy of setting up ad-hoc commissions of inquiry have proven to be ineffective in rooting out endemic systemic corruption.
The UDP Youth Wing is therefore calling on the Gambia Government to design a robust anti-
corruption institutional framework anchored on laws with a three-pronged (prevention,
investigation and prosecution) strategy against corruption that will inspire public officials to carry out their work conscientiously for the public good.
It is within this context that the UDP Youth Wing is writing this petition conscious of the
principle that the President Barrow led Government eloquently expressed in the Janneh
Commission Report White Paper thus:
“the Government has not lost sight of the prevailing governance environment created by former President Jammeh at the time.
Notwithstanding, in most cases, members of the business community,
in their dealings with former President Jammeh, were motivated by sheer greed and opportunism;
while those who served in public office were mostly motivated by a combination of fear and self-preservation.
The Government has also taken into account the fact that The Gambia is currently going through a fragile political transition to democratic rule after over two decades of authoritarian rule.
Consequently, the Government’s main objective, as reflected in this White Paper, is the recovery of monies stolen and/or misappropriated from the State by former President Jammeh, his family members and close associates.”
It is the submission of the humble petitioners that “the governance environment” created by
former dictator Jammeh has not changed and his closest political associates have been
appointed to leadership of the National Assembly. This undermines the transitional justice process.
The recovery of monies stolen and or misappropriated from the state has so far not been
transparently explained to the people or satisfactorily accounted for by the Barrow Government.
To situate the petition in proper context the UDP Youth Wing anti-corruption campaign
informed by the recommendations of the Janneh Commission and the Gambia Government’s
White Paper on the said Report. the terms of reference of the Commission were as follows:-
a) Inquire into and investigate the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of diverse sums
of money from the Central Bank of The Gambia including from the International Gateway
Account, Carnegie Mining Project Account, and any other account or fund lodged with the
Central Bank and:
c) Inquire into whether and to what extent the resources meant for the Government or people
of The Gambia including grants, donations, and loans were diverted, converted or
misappropriated by or under the direction of the former Executive;
d) Investigate the extent to which former President Jammeh was involved in public
procurement and whether any losses were caused to government by reason of such
e) Investigate the existence, nature, extent, and method of acquisition of assets and
properties of former President Jammeh, his family members and close associates within the
period from 22nd July 1994 to 21st January 2017, and to investigate whether such assets
and properties were acquired lawfully or otherwise;
j) Recommend ways of improving on the supervision of Government Accounts in a bid to
ensuring that irregular withdrawals from the said accounts do not reoccur;
k) Recommend ways of recovering or restoring any assets, monies or other resources that
may have been illegally taken, misappropriated, misapplied, or lost; and
the UDP Youth Wing is deeply concerned that most the recommendations of the Janneh
Commission for institutional and public finance reforms to protect the public purse have not
been implemented. The call for constitutional and electoral reforms that led to the death of
Ebrima Solo Sandeng and imprisonment of the Secretary General and Party Leader ANM
Ousainu Darboe and senior members of the UDP Executive Committee. Three of whom have since passed away.
The UDP Youth Wing believes that Constitution carries within it an anti-corruption principle,
much like the separation-of-powers principle, or sovereignty principle. It is a freestanding
principle embedded in the Constitution's structure, and should be given independent weight,
like these other principles, in deciding difficult questions concerning how we govern ourselves.
Corruption has been part of our constitutional dialogue since independence but in the last 25
years, and particularly since the Janneh Commission Report, corruption has been highlighted
as a scourge and as an undeniable force in enabling and entrenching dictatorship for 22 years in The Gambia. The work of the Commission also exposed the intricate nature of State
Capture, the operations of cartels and monopolies that enabled, aided and abetted former
dictator Jammeh’s reign of terror.
We recall with patriotic pride that just over six years ago, Gambians in large numbers, went
to the polls and peacefully wrested political power from dictator Jammeh by electing ‘a
Coalition Government’ led by Mr. Adama Barrow. At the time, Gambians genuinely believed
his utterances to be credible campaign promises for the renewal of democracy, based on the
rule of law and good governance for a New Gambia, with constitutional and institutional
Unfortunately, the verdict of many Gambians now is that all the campaign promises of political change and socio-economic transformation are far from being realized. The daily struggle for survival is becoming ever more intense for the vast majority of Gambians.
Gambians have been witnessing and suffering from the high cost of living, nepotism, lack of
security, especially food security, high levels of corruption, the abuse of taxpayers money to
reward the regime’s political cronies and NPP activists and leaders who parade themselves
on media to either attack the critics of the regime or stand in the way of policy or legal reforms that advance the interest of all Gambians. This is evidenced by executive abuse and
manipulation of public resources which are meant to serve the interest of all Gambians.
Gambians are disenchanted with the frequency of scandals and the deteriorating state of
governance in the country. The majority of Gambians are also dissatisfied with the high cost
of utilities (electricity, water and IT services), unending power outages as well as inadequate
or nonexistent water supply.
Other sources of frustration of Gambians are the alarming rates
of youth unemployment, high taxes, the shortage and unreliability of drugs, inadequate
medical facilities and personnel, and a sub-standard education system, amongst many other challenges.
Therefore, following a spate of serious fraud and or corruption allegations revealed in several
Reports of the Auditor General of the Gambia, We the young people of the Gambia believe
that our future is being jeopardized by these corruption allegations.
We believe that to secure our collective futures we must make our concerns known to the
Honourable Members of the National Assembly and His Excellency the President of the
republic of the Gambia.
The UDP Youth Wing is calling on the Gambia Government and the National Assembly to
commit to making the fight against corruption a top priority. To that end, the President is urged to issue a “Certificate of Urgency” to accompany the Anti-corruption Bill currently tabled before the National Assembly and the latter is requested to pass the said bill as a matter of national emergency.
To step up the anti-corruption drive, E-Government, digitalization of the economy and
systematic use of ICT as tools for transparency and accountability, should be given priority.
For the avoidance of doubt, the UDP Youth Wing adopts the following definition of
‘Corruption’: “it is the abuse of power for private gain, including bribery, extortion, fraud,
nepotism, embezzlement, falsification of records, kickbacks, and influence peddling”. It
affects citizens’ access to basic services, contributes to resource scarcity, impoverishes the
country and its citizens, debases the moral standards of our communities and fuels tensions
For six years, the nation has been rocked by a scandal after scandal has . These scandals
range from the “anonymous donors” of vehicles to the National Assembly, the Banjul
Roads Project, Semlex National Identity Card Project, the GMD 35 Million credited to
the Fatoumatta Bah Barrow Foundation, Covid 19 Funds, the GMD 400+ million Gambia
Ports Authority embezzlement scandal, the GMD 164 million Securiport Affair and GDM
10 million disappearance from the Global Fund, to mention a few.
WHEREFORE your humble Petitioners pray that the President and the National Assembly:
1) Hears and considers this petition.
2) Directs the Audit General to conduct special audits exercises in view of all the
foregoing issues raise in this petition; and
3) Directs the Attorney General and Inspector General of Police to investigate whether
any criminal offences arise from the facts set out in this petition and take appropriate
The Office of the President, in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General and
the National Assembly are hereby urged to investigate, prosecute, and sanction the
persons accused of all these cases of corruption, embezzlement and misappropriation
of public resources diligently, thoroughly and fully. Impunity must become a thing of
the past and there should be no sacred cows at any level of government.
We, the UDP Youth Wing, on behalf of the United Democratic Party and the Gambian
people at large, hereby submit this petition to the President and the National Assembly
of the Republic of The Gambia, and the Office of the Attorney General, for appropriate
action, each one for its part.
Name Position Signature
Hagie Sawareh President
1st Vice President
Bubacarr Kanteh Secretary General
Binta Senghore Female Youth President
Female Youth Secretary General
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