40.2 C
City of Banjul
Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Sabally tells Assembly to impeach Barrow over $20 airport fee comments

- Advertisement -
image 110

By Omar Bah

Momodou Sabally, a member of the opposition UDP, has urged the National Assembly to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Adama Barrow over his comments on the airport $20 Securiport fees.

Commenting for the first time on the controversial airport security fee, President Barrow told a gathering of the Gambian community in New York that “the $20 airport security levy will help the country in terms of development”.

- Advertisement -

But reacting to the president’s comments, Sabally, a former Secretary General, said the president should be impeached for pre-empting the National Security Council inquiry into the Malagen investigation.

“In any serious democracy with a vibrant opposition, the Securiport saga would have evoked a minimum of a parliamentary enquiry and possible peaceful protests by individuals and civil society organizations. A media house with the unquestionable integrity of Malagen, does an investigative report that the government coyly admits to the effect that the national security council is to convene a meeting to look into the Securiport contract.

“The head of that same government preempts the outcome of his own government’s effort to review the relevant contract document by justifying the questionable $20 airport levy; and even suggesting to legitimize it by including it in ticket cost?”

- Advertisement -

He said the National Assembly should immediately start the process of impeachment because Malagen’s sources in “this corruption racket are actually serving officials of this same government”.

“I would have expected the president to stay mute on this matter and allow the team instructed by his own office to review the contract document and come up with their recommendations before making bay statement. But as it is, he has already given his verdict and this could be used by Securiport should this contentious matter lead to international arbitration,” he said.

Sabally added: “I am blaming the government because the government failed to act appropriately in the interest of the citizens. The fact that this matter was handled at the office of the President is the very signal that there was no intention to do things the right way and according to the law from the get go.”

Also, speaking on the controversy surrounding the Securiport contract, a critic of the Barrow administration, Sidi Sanneh said: “Securiport is a business concern whose primary interest is to ensure that the business Association entered into with its clients yields the desired outcome for the company ie a healthy profit margin to sustain the company and its employees.  On the other side of the ledger, it is the role of the client, in this case the Gambia Government, to ensure that it gets value for money, to protect the interest and the general welfare of all Gambians. Unfortunately, in this case the deal is anything but that.

“It is unfortunate that the government ignored our concerns and warnings about the terms and conditions of some elements of the contract since the project was first mooted back in 2018.  At the time to the present, Gambians are not privy to the details of the contract – a major infraction of the procurement rules governing such public sector contracts.  These contracts, by law, must be accessible to the general public,” Sanneh said.

Sanneh urged the government to re-open negotiations with Securiport with a view to amicably and with least injury to either party because the tax has already harmed our tourism industry and threatens to cause further harm.

Join The Conversation
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img