By Aji Fatou Faal
Parliamentarians at the National Assembly Thursday unanimously approved the increment of remunerations for the members of the Commission of Inquiry into the Financial Activities of Public Enterprises, Bodies and Offices As Regards Their Dealing with Former President Yahya Jammeh, by an additional D500,000 each.
Tabling the motion at parliament yesterday, Abubacarr Tambadou, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, recalled that President Barrow established the commission on 12 July 2017 pursuant to Section 200 of the 1997 Constitution and Section 2 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, and appointed Sourahata Janneh as member and chair, Bai Mass Saine as member and Abiosseh George as member.
He recalled that Paragraph 8 of the Establishment Order of 12 July 2017 provided for the commission to complete its inquiry within a period of three months of its first sitting.
However, it also gave the power to the commission to continue beyond that period if, in its opinion, it is necessary to do so.
He highlighted that the commission now deems it necessary to extend its mandate by an additional six months from the date of expiry of the first three months based on the following: the emergence of new evidence, which warrants the calling of more witnesses to testify before the commission; the nature and complexity of the evidence adduced by the witnesses before the commission, which will necessitate the procurement of the service of forensic accountants and auditors; the numerous public enterprises, bodies and offices that are the subject of the inquiry and are yet to be heard; and the nature and complexity of the investigations covering a period over 22 years from 22 July 1994 to 21 January 2017.
“We therefore request that the Assembly consider and approve the increment of remuneration by an additional amount of D500,000 for each of the said commissioners based on the following: the extension of the duration of the commission’s mandate to six months from date of expiry of the first three months; the fact that the commissioners have now suspended their professional careers to devote more time to the work of the commission for an additional six months; and having regard to the usual fees and charges of such professionals for comparative work in the private sector,” he stated.
He concluded that this is being made pursuant to Section 16(1) of the Commission of Inquiry Act, Cap 30, Volume 5 of the Laws of The Gambia which states: “Subject to Subsection (2) of this Section, commissioners appointed under this Act are not entitled to any remuneration beyond the actual expenses incurred in holding the inquiry, unless such remuneration is specifically voted by the National Assembly.”