By Alagie Manneh
The executive director of Gambia Participates, a civic society organization, Marr Nyang has called for the anti-corruption bill currently awaiting approval at the National Assembly to be passed urgently.
Mr Nyang also demanded that the commission be equipped with “credible and serious individuals” if it is to be independent and effective.
“Otherwise, people are just going to see it as one of those commissions,” the anti-corruption activist told The Standard yesterday.
He added: “The recruitment of the commissioners is a bit encouraging, despite it being done in consultation with the public service commission. We would have expected the appointments be subjected to parliamentary oversight just like that of the Ombusdman. I am sure if due process is followed, credible people will be part of the anti-corruption commission which will guarantee its effective operations.”
He said corruption remains a major concern in The Gambia but it can be curbed and perpetrators punished when the anti-corruption commission comes into force.
“Getting an anti-corruption commission helps in reducing corrupt activities in the public sector. But it must be said corruption is already endemic in this country, [and so] its about attitude as well. So, a lot of civic education work would have to be done by the anti-corruption commission. There’s going to be a lot of work that would have to be done; engaging stakeholders, educating them about the bill, and most importantly about the sanctions that are attached to being corrupt,” he said.
Mr Nyang said they have been pushing to have the commission for years.
“We have not been relenting. We are not going to allow the commission to work in isolation either. For us in the civil society, my staff and the Ministry of Justice were in Sierra Leone just a couple of weeks ago to do an anti-corruption study. So, we are working ahead. We are going to be giving a lot of support to make sure it is effective, independent and the operations go smoothly,” he said.