By Omar Bah
A group called the Anti-Corruption Commission Gambia (ACCG) has urged the Barrow administration to take the fight against corruption very seriously.
The commission made the recommendation during a press conference commemorating the 4th Africa anti-corruption day with the theme “fighting corruption through effective and efficient judicial systems.”
The chairperson of the commission, Abdoulie Jadama said The Gambia being a member of the African Union Convention on Prevention and Combating Corruption has made strides in the fight against corruption but needs to do more in terms of investigating and prosecuting corrupt officials.
He said the government should expedite its efforts of creating an independent anti-corruption agency to lead the campaign to minimise corruption in the country.
“[As] we recognise the many challenges that the government of the Gambia had to deal with – we demand that they take appropriate measures to enact effective and efficient national laws, create strong judicial system and an independent anti-corruption agency to spearhead the national anti-corruption reforms,” he told journalists at the presser.
He said the level of corruption is taken for granted due to the fact that the government is not doing enough to investigate allegations of public sector corruption from both civil society organisations, whistle-blowers from the public service, media and international organisations.
He reiterated that the government’s progress in ending corruption in reality has been rather slow.
He queried the government’s lack of commitment to have a standalone AG office distinct from the Minister of Justice functions to oversee an effective and efficient justice system, inadequate resources for the judiciary, insufficient efforts to address the challenges and constraints that exist in the anti-corruption chain, not engaging the private sector, the media, CSOs for an effective and efficient strong collaboration against anticipated corruption.
“The government has shown very limited commitments in policy actualisation and implementation of the government’s anti-corruption commitments to the African Union Advisory board on corruption. The Gambia should make every effort to submit its periodic reports and allow country visits by the African Union advisory board (AUABC) in the coming year,” he said.
“There is still systematic corruption in the country, which is retarding economic growth, and development. The government should act without delay on the corruption allegations made by local and international organisations, media, public servants and private citizens,” he said.
Michael David, also a member of the commission, urged the government to investigate a report of massive corruption at the health ministry.
“The IGP should take the allegations made by the minister of health very seriously as the health ministry is without a doubt one of the most corrupt ministries in the country. We will also continue to engage the government to ensure they show serious commitment to accountability and transparency in the disbursement of Covid-19 funds,” he said.
Marr Nyang said the group is committed to fighting corruption through effective and efficient judicial systems.
“There is a lack of interest from the Barrow-administration to fight corruption. It is because of corruption that we are receiving poor service delivery. The government should be transparent to the people,” he said.
He said the international donors are not helping commissions like his in the fight against corruption, “International donors like the World Bank will say spend the money and keep the receipt.”