By Tabora Bojang
Two Gambians, Muhammed L Darboe and Tijan Bah, have sent a petition to the National Assembly to investigate corruption allegations at the Gambia Ports Authority.
The petition, to be submitted today, follows the rejection of a similar petition sent to the National Assembly by Whats-on-Gambia, a popular online media asking for the involvement of the public petitions committee in the matter.
But this petition was rejected by the Office of the Clerk, arguing it does not meet the admissibility criteria.
The GPA is embroiled in corruption allegations as staff at the Rating Unit were accused of issuing fake receipts, undercutting fees, soliciting brides and inducements and going away with D4 million per week. This is said to occur between 2020 to 2022.
These allegations were followed by an internal investigation by the GPA management but the authority has since failed to share the findings publicly since March.
In their new petition seen by The Standard and to be submitted today, Darboe and Bah argued that as a result of GPA’s deliberate act to conceal this vital information from the public and further considering their blatant disregard for the Access to Information Act, 2021, they want the National Assembly’s Public Petitions Committee to compel the GPA management to release the report.
“We trust you and your powers. The law has given you powers equate to that of the High Court in situations like this. This is why we didn’t think twice to invoke section 125 of the Standard Orders for you to take charge. This is a national interest. We [Gambia] have a struggling economy, a broken health care system and a poor educational system. A major cause of our precarious state of affairs is the rampant corruption. The monies meant for the development of our beautiful country are being siphoned into personal interests and or development. It is important to note that this matter is not before any court or any Constitutional or legal body. It is not also frivolous and or vexatious. It is purely in the interest of the public. More than 9,000 people have signed an online petition by the online media outlet What’s On-Gambia for the GPA management to release the report but to no avail. We therefore respectfully urge your office to consider this petition admissible and refer it to the Public Petitions Committee and pray that the said committee will compel the Gambia Ports Authority to make public their internal investigatory report on the alleged graft by their staff,” the petitioners urged the Clerk.
Muhammad L Darboe is a native of Kombo Central while Tijan Bah hails from Sandu district, URR.