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Friday, April 19, 2024

NAM attempts to table motion of censure against Hamat

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By Tabora Bojang

Janjangbureh lawmaker Omar Jammeh yesterday attempted to introduce a motion in the National Assembly to censure Minister Hamat Bah for making “reckless comments against NAMs in the performance of their duties”.

Some GT Board staff petitioned parliament in 2021 alleging corruption and irregularities in the award of contract for the construction of eco-lodges, abuse of office and wrongful allocations of TDA lands at the GT Board and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The petition implicated senior staff of the GT Board and the Ministry of Tourism all of whom denied any wrongs.

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The petition committee chaired by Wuli East lawmaker Suwaibou Touray submitted its findings before the plenary last week recommending among others the reinstatement of staff removed or deployed from GT Board due to their involvement in sending the petition to the Assembly.

Addressing a press conference to highlight the achievements of the tourism ministry, Hamat who has since been moved to lands and regional government,  said he had urged the chairman of the petitions committee to recuse himself from the hearings because he belonged to the same party [PDOIS] as the GT Board staff behind the petition.

He dismissed the findings of the committee’s report as “not impartial” and accused the chairman of furthering a “political agenda”.

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Last evening, the Janjangbureh representative attempted to table a motion of censure against Minister Bah during the adjournment debate. He said the remarks against the petitions committee chairman were “reckless and lacked decorum”. 

“Honourable Speaker, corruption is at its peak in this country. This is the only country where civil servants will engage in corrupt practices and when the National Assembly does its job you will see public servants going to press conferences to challenge the National Assembly. By the Standing Orders and the Constitution the Assembly may pass a motion of censure against a minister or vice president supported by two-thirds of all the members on the grounds of inability, abuse of office, violation of the constitution or misconduct in office. This is a motion I want to bring forward against the minister. We need to take matters of this country seriously. You cannot have a petition report before the assembly, and a public officer goes out there to challenge the integrity of that committee,

labelling its chairman as an opposition. That is unacceptable” Jammeh submitted.

He added: “If you think it is okay to employ your son in public office, or to have husband and wife in the same institution. And you don’t think it is okay for one of the petitioners to have a mutual relationship with the chairperson, I think someone is fooling someone somewhere.”

Jammeh accused the minister of interfering in parliamentary businesses by removing names of lawmakers selected by the parliament to attend an international tourism forum and the “National Assembly Authority could not do anything” about it, Jammeh stated, urging the speaker to consider his motion of censure.

Billay Tunkara, who deputised for the speaker during the session, said there was no quorum for tabling a motion of censure against the minister, adding that such a motion cannot be debated until after 14 days of its submission.

He urged NAM Jammeh to officially write to the parliamentary technicians to formally table his bid.

Minority leader Alagie Darboe stated that most of the allegations in the petition have proven to be right.

“The best they could do is to resign morally instead of blaming those people who make decisions on merit. We don’t deserve that. The committee did the needful.  If you are not satisfied, challenge the decision in court, but you cannot render the work of the National Assembly to zero. Those remarks should be swallowed back. Even the president will not talk to the National Assembly in that manner. I can attest to that. Then who on earth can speak like that to the National Assembly? It is our business because the petition is brought to us.  We want to be tested and if we are tested our true colour will be seen.”

Majority leader Billay Tunkara also added: “We will not allow any intimidation against NAMs in the performance of their official duties.”

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