By Omar Bah
The National Assembly yesterday suspended the consideration of the Anti-corruption Bill over disagreements on a suggestion to appoint members of the commission using the method used in the national human rights commissioners appointment.
The much-awaited bill was tabled for consideration yesterday but lawmakers could not find a conclusive ground on the procedures of appointing members of the commission.
While the minister of justice and few other NAMs suggested the procedure obtained in the National Human Rights Commission be used in the appointment in the anti-corruption commission members, some members, notably new ones, asked for better explanation of the procedure.
According to the NHRC clause on appointment procedure; the president shall after consultation with the Public Service Commission appoint the members of the commission in accordance with the procedures specified in the schedule which states that the president shall through the minister of justice advertise in a transparent manner and invite suitably qualified persons to apply for the position of a member of the commission and the list of applicants be considered by a selection panel which shall consist the Association of Non-governmental Organisations, Gambia Bar Association, Federation of the Disable, National Youth Council, Female Lawyers Association and the Gambia Press Union.
In his contribution, the NAM for Upper Saloum, Alhagie Mbow said he supports the idea but insisted the provision should be properly explained to the new Members.
“Mr Speaker, what we want to do here is fine but we should remember that there are members who have not seen that provision before so it is important that we read what is in that schedule before the members actually agree. I am perfectly fine with what is there but there are Members that have not seen it before,” he argued.
At that juncture, the Speaker intervened and asked: “Mbow, are you in agreement or not?”
“Yes,” Mbow replied.
“If you are okay with it, why worry for others?” Speaker Jatta further asked.
However, the Speaker’s assertion was met with disapproval from some of the new NAMs who chanted: “It is relevant,” referring to Mbow’s observation.
One of the new NAMs and member for Busumbala, Muhammed Kante, said the new Members should be enlightened about what is contained in the provision before they can make a decision.
The office of the Clerk and the Attorney General were tasked to work together to address the lacuna.