By Alagie Manneh
Gambia Participates has reiterated its call for the passing of the Anti-Corruption Commission bill.
In October 2021, former justice minister Abubacarr Tambadou tabled the much talked-about bill before deputies. However, years later, it is yet to be passed.
“In 2022, efforts were made by parliament for the bill to proceed to the next stage, but parliament decided to suspend all businesses associated with the Minister of Justice for his apparent failure to come and answer before the parliamentarians,” the executive director of Gambia Participates, Marr Nyang said.
He said parliament’s issue with the minister led to the delay in passing the bill. “That was a setback. If there has to be a sanction, the sanctions should be limited to the minister; it should not affect government proceedings. What is important is to put sanctions on public officials especially the executive for not answering to certain calls by the National Assembly as an oversight institution. We don’t think that government businesses in the interest to the citizenry should be suspended because of the individual actions of a particular officer. We think that’s what delayed the bill.”
He said with the new legislature, the expectation is that the bill will be given the priority it deserves.
He added: “We want this bill to be tabled, but we also want these parliamentarians to understand the content of the bill, and the amendments that should be made for the bill to be legislated.”
Marr said corruption continues to devastate almost all areas of the Gambian society.
“We’ve seen numerous corruption scandals in government, but because there’s not a sound anti-corruption legislative framework that could be used to guide the government in addressing the corruption cases. If there was a sound anti-corruption legislative framework and a commission that is purposely responsible for not only investigating but also putting in place deterrent mechanisms, it will ensure that there is a roadblock in the public sector for corruption to thrive,” he stressed.
In the absence of such legislative and institutional frameworks, Nyang said, The Gambia will continue to witness graft in public sector.
“Repetition of corrupt acts in the public sector which is costing lives, and loss of economy and poor service delivery [will continue]. The reasons why we are pushing for this legislation is because all the issues that we are complaining boil down to public sector corruption, be it petty or grand corruption, the effects are really detrimental to the growth of the economy, democratic institutions and the people.”