UDP leader tells Assembly to summon Justice Minister over unretired D31M imprests

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By Omar Bah

The opposition UDP leader has called on the National Assembly to summon the Justice Minister over D31.7 million unretired imprests.   

In September, the National Assembly passed a resolution which among other things ordered that all outstanding imprests issued to ministries, departments, agencies and individuals totalling over D30 million be retired by October 31st 2022.

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But the UDP leader Ousainou Darboe said the Assembly should also summon Minister Dawda Jallow and challenge him to put forward legal measures to ensure the monies are recovered.

“I encourage you to insist by inviting the Attorney General to the National Assembly for him to tell you what measures he is going to take to recover these monies,” Darboe said at a UDP rally in Jambur on Saturday.

The former vice president said the findings of the auditor general with respect to the misappropriation of public funds by government officials are worrying for a country with its economy on a precipice.

“Honourable Alhagie S Darboe, you are the chairman of the FPAC, you should make sure that this doesn’t stop at criminal prosecution because if it stops there maybe the monies will not be paid,” Darboe challenged.

He expressed his disappointment over the president’s decision to appoint the likes of Lang Tombong Tamba and Fatoumatta Jahumpa-Ceesay to diplomatic posts while they have not retired millions of dalasis given to them as imprests.

“We have real issues in this country that need urgent attention but the government is not doing anything to address them. We have just lost 70 children due to the negligence of our health systems. All these things are happening while few individuals are having millions of taxpayers’ monies moving freely. Njogu Bah alone is having over D5 million unretired imprests and he is here. Any serious government would have compelled him to pay that money back. We have all seen the Alghali Commission seizing people’s properties. What about the auditor general’s report? Why is the government not seizing peoples’ properties for failing to retire millions of taxpayers’ monies?”

The UDP leader also called out the NPP’s administrative secretary, Mambanyick Njie who has also been named for not retiring imprests.

“I am mentioning these people because they are active in politics. So, I want to remind President Barrow that he was elected to remedy the wrongs and failing to retire an imprest should not be buried under the carpet. If he fails to do anything about it, then he has failed the Gambian people,” he added.

He said the government should take issues of corruption very seriously.

“This is not about politics… You know the auditor general is not a politician. So all what he said is based on an independent inquiry and as far as UDP is concerned, we will push for his findings to be implemented because we cannot fold our hands and see our country being destroyed by individuals who don’t have the country’s interest at heart,” he chastised.