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City of Banjul
Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Are we serious about the fight against corruption?

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By Musa Bah

Your pronouncements in Nouakchott, Mauritania about corruption and the constant talk about it in the country, including at the National Assembly, give hope to the people that it will soon be a thing of the past. There is hope in that.

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However, given that a lot of allegations are being made every now and then and no investigations mounted (at least as far as I know), it tends to dampen the spirit about the fight against graft.

A few months ago, there were reports of massive corruption at the Gambia Immigration Department but then nothing was heard of it after the initial reports. It seems it’s business as usual.

Again a week or two ago, massive corruption was again alleged against the staff and management of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation. That saga is still ongoing as we hear allegations and counter-allegations almost daily but no investigations so far.

In yesterday’s issue of The Standard Newspaper, there was a report of a scandal which emanated from allegations and counter-allegations between the secretary, Mr Alagie Kurang and the Lead Council, Mrs Amie Bensouda. This has the potential of eroding the trust and confidence of the public on the Commission of Inquiry into the Financial Activities of the former president and his close associates commonly referred to as the Janneh Commission..

It is clear that many of these may or may not be true but considering that government is here to serve the people of the nation; and that it is entrusted with the national coffers, it behooves the government to investigate every allegation in order to unearth any financial malpractice by government officials.

Without this, culprits will be emboldened and hold the view that they can do as they wish and nothing will happen. Investigations will also clear the names of peoople wrongly accused so they can salvage their reputation. This will be good for the country.

Considering the fact that human beings are basically selfish creatures, it is not difficult to see that many – if not most – will act in ways that are not in the interest of the greater good, the good of the nation. Thus, only legislation and implementation thereof can deter individuals from acting in corrupt ways.

Once people know that they will be punished and shamed if they behave inappropriately, they will desist from illicit taking of public funds.

Have a good day Mr President.

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