By Tabora Bojang
A petition requesting the national assembly to investigate corruption allegations at the Gambia Ports Authority GPA has finally been accepted by the Office of the Clerk.
The petition draws attention to corruption and bribery allegations by some staff of the GPA Rating Unit. They are accused of ‘issuing fake receipts, undercutting fees, soliciting bribes and other acts which allowed them to make D4 million every week between 2020 to 2022.
A petition to investigate the matter was first sent to parliament by Whats-on-Gambia, a popular online media but their request was rejected by the Office of the Clerk for failing to meet the admissibility criteria.
However two Gambians Muhammed L Darboe and Tijan Bah then took up the matter and pushed for the petition to be returned to the Assembly last week.
Muhammed and Tijan want the Clerk to take their concerns seriously, refer the matter to the Public Petition Committee to investigate the allegations as well as compel the GPA management to share with the public the report of its internal investigation on the matter.
According to them corruption is deeply embedded and institutionalised in the public sector reflecting an increased struggling economy, a broken health care and poor educational system.
“We therefore respectfully urge your office to consider this petition admissible and refer it to the Public Petitions Committee and pray that the said committee will compel the Gambia Ports Authority to make public their internal investigatory report on the alleged graft by their staff,” the petitioners urged the Clerk.
In its response seen by The Standard, the Office of the Clerk in a letter dated July 4th 2022, stated; “Given that the Office of the Clerk has not found anything particularly objectionable about the form of the petition or the other elements of admissibility, it is the considered view of the Office that the petition, which is in the English language, generally meets the requirements of the National Assembly Standing Orders. The petition is admissible and shall be referred to the Public Petitions Committee in accordance with Standing Order 126 (7) of the National Assembly Standing orders.