Minister says only National Assembly can have information
By Tabora Bojang
For the second time running, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Dawda Jallow has told the national assembly that the individuals who bought former president Jammeh’s assets have not consented to the disclosure of their names to the public, and therefore as a government, they cannot give the names to the public.
Responding to Foni Bintang Karanai member Bakary K Badjie, who asked why the minister had problems reading the names of the buyers of Jammeh’s properties, if nothing is wrong with the sales, Dawda Jallow replied: “The reason is that we are dealing with the assets of a former president who is politically exposed. The purchasers of such properties are entitled to some form of privacy and they do not give us their consent to disclose their names. However, we respect the right of this national assembly as the representatives of the people to avail them with any information they request but whether whatever information provided to the assembly should equally be provided to the public is something that we should look into. So, we provided the names to the national assembly but the government do not think it is appropriate for us to disclose their names to the general public.”.
Jammeh supporters have since accused the Barrow government of selling his forfeited properties to cabinet ministers, senior civil servants and private individuals connected to the state at very cheap prices.
However, according to the minister of justice, the properties were valued and put into receiverships with sales coordinated by receivers who advertised the properties on their websites and invited interested individuals to submit their bids.
“The valuation prices obtained from the exercise were mainly a guide and they were prices that were kept in secret and when assets were advertised people were allowed to bid in sealed bids. These offers were opened together in a conference room where bidders will be present and their bids opened and the property sold to the highest bidder,” the AG explained.
On one particular matter, the sale of Jammeh’s cattle, Justice Minister Jallow begged for time to allow his ministry to look into the Janneh Commission’s archives which was coordinating the sales of cattle.
“The cows were sold by the commission well before they even submitted their report to the government. So, the ministry of justice and the cabinet sub-committee was only involved in sales of other properties after the white paper was published,” he told NAMs.
According to the minister, some of the properties are still unsold, adding government is working to ensure they are sold.
Victim’s Compensation Bill
According to the minister, a victim’s compensation bill prepared to take care of reparations and establish an independent body to manage compensation funds from the government and donors, is already in cabinet from where it will be tabled in the assembly soon.
He said this year alone, the government allocated over D100M for compensations and more victims are being identified because not all were identified by the TRRC.
The minister revealed that the amount of reparations recommended by the TRRC is questioned by the victims as a result of which the government will ensure it is revised.