Letters: Should the National Assembly or the Attorney General decide how Yahya Jammeh’s loot be spent?

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Dear Editor,
The Gambia government announced recently that through the sale of former President Yahya Jammeh looted assets that it has recovered and returned funds of Yahya Jammeh’s loot, kept in a special account at the Central Bank.

Is Yahya Jammeh contesting the final findings of the government White Paper?
In the absence of any evidence that Yahya Jammeh stole the money from the statutory allocation to the then Government (now defunct) after the sharing of the revenue accruing to the government as a whole, it, rightly, can be assumed that the money belonged to the Gambia.

Since Yahya Jammeh stole the money from the Gambia, and not from the government alone, is the money not that of the Gambia? Is it the exclusive property of the government? If the answer is in the negative, can the Gambia government, acting alone, spend the money? Shouldn’t the money be paid into the distributable pool in the government Account and shared in accordance with the extant revenue allocation formula amongst the three tiers of government?
The argument that the money could be stolen at the state level, like the “Paris Club refund “is not a valid reason for short circuiting the restitution process.

The money was stolen from the Gambia.

It should return to the Gambia. And the government of the Gambia is not the Justice department.

The reparation from Yahya Jammeh’s loot announced by the Attorney General for Yahya Jammeh’s torture survivors and victims is stepping aside directive should have emanated from the National Assembly. Not the President and not from the Justice Minister.

The directive has full moral grounding but is patently unconstitutional. We have a very liberal constitution that guarantees procedural and substantive rights to even the devil himself. The bottom line: – everyone is entitled to due process.
Alagie Yoro Jallow
USA

Is Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang the sole champion of five years?

Dear editor,
Following the announcement last week by the former vice president of the Republic of the Gambia, Madame Fatoumatta Jallow-Tasmbajang that the Coalition leaders have met President Adama Barrow and agreed to extend his term to five years, political parties have been tripping each other to disassociate themselves from that ‘agreement’.

First, we saw Mr Halifah Sallah, leader of the People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) write to her to seek clarification as they were neither invited nor informed of the meeting and subsequent extension.

They raised concerns that as a part and parcel of the coalition, they do not know anything about it.

The deputy leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Aji Yam Secka also told journalists that the last time the UDP was invited or informed of any meeting of the Coalition was on 6th May, 2019.

She said that they were neither informed nor invited to the supposed meeting with President Barrow which decided to unilaterally extend the president’s mandate to five years.

The Gambia Moral Congress (GMC) also claims that they were not aware of any meeting with President Adama Baroow and distanced themselves from the extension which purportedly emanated from that meeting.

This has been widely publicized in the media in recent days.

The question one may ask is this: who did Madame Tambajang go to State House with? Did she just pick any Tom, Dick or Harry to make this extension?
It is certainly confusing to the public when a respectable lady like her says that the ‘Coalition has agreed’ only for the other partners to say, hang on! We weren’t there.

The issue of three years or five years is beyond one party, let alone one individual. It is a national issue and should be addressed as such.

A dialogue which should include all the stakeholders within and among themselves first, which should then be extended to the entire citizenry for it to have any meaningful effect.

It is not for one person or one party to decide on a matter as important as this.

Let the sitting government initiate a dialogue with the people (and not that type of dialogue which will parade men in military uniform or the SIS) let it be a real people centred dialogue on this issue and as soon as possible as time is of the essence here.

Musa Bah
Nusrat SSS