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Sunday, March 7, 2021

‘CBG governor could be sued to return all benefits’

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By Omar Bah

Former Interior minister has alleged that the appointment of the current Central Bank governor, Buah Saidy, is illegal and warned he could risk paying back to the state all his benefits in the future.

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“It is possible that a future government that recognizes this illegality with the willing intentional collusion of Saidy may require him to refund to the state every butut he received or benefitted from as the governor of the CBG,” Mai Fatty told The Standard. 

In October, President Adama Barrow appointed Buah Saidy as central bank governor to replace Bakary Jammeh, who was deployed to the ministry of trade as minister but declined the offer.

But the GMC leader said President Barrow has “no power or authority under the law, by himself, to unilaterally remove Bakary Jammeh as Governor of the CBG, and replace him with anyone. Jammeh’s removal violates the CBG Act, which also consequently contravenes the president’s sworn oath to respect and enforce the Constitution and other laws of The Gambia.”

He said a legal challenge against CBG governor’s decision “as the false governor in any court of competent jurisdiction, is very highly to succeed. Saidy owes his tenure to pure abuse of executive authority and the personal political patronage of president Barrow, both of which are the most insecure and unsafe for him and his future.”

“Buah’s purported appointment as governor is fraught with irregularities. It constitutes a constructive removal of the substantive holder of the position Bakary Jammeh, contrary to section 18 (8) of the CBG Act.  This provision provides that the president may only remove the Governor after appointing an independent tribunal to investigate impropriety against him,” the trained lawyer said.

The president, Fatty added, can only act subsequent to the receipt of an adverse report from that independent tribunal pursuant to Section 18 (9) of the CBG. “This was not done.”

Fatty said anything Buah does purportedly in his capacity as Governor of the CBG is void, arguing that the foundation of his appointment is tainted with manifest illegality, and everything else built upon that is illegal.

“Every document that bears his signature, every decision he takes, every action he initiates is illegal and void. In effect, the CBG Act, which is the controlling legal authority, does not recognize his appointment. Under the ‘eyes of the law’, Bakary Jammeh is still the substantive Governor of the CBG,” he said.

Saidy himself, Mai argued, “who has worked for the CBG for three decades, and also serves as the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance, is personally fully aware of this illegality and all of its legal consequences. Both President Barrow and Saidy have willfully violated a fundamental law, knowing that Saidy has no legal competence of whatsoever to serve in that capacity.”

“The net effect of this illegality is that anyone, including financial institutions can challenge the legal validity of decisions and actions of the CBG now or in the future on grounds of legal competence. Since the law does not recognize the appointment of Saidy or the removal of Jammeh, he has no standing in law to occupy that seat or exercise the authority and functions of the governor of the CBG,” he said.

He said Saidy is reported to have two senior government jobs at one time, acting as both PS of ministry of finance, as well as governor of the CBG simultaneously.

“This report in the local media has not been disputed. Both President Barrow and Saidy are fully aware of this abnormality and illegality. One individual is now the custodian of both the fiscal and monetary policy, a situation that exists perhaps only in the Gambia throughout the world,” he said. 

“In principle, I have nothing against Mr Saidy as an individual. What I question is his standing as the CBG Governor. I also dispute some of his facts he reportedly told journalists during the last MPC press conference, relating to executive interference,” he said.

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