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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

UDP standard-bearer welcomes anti-graft commission but…

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In an exclusive interview with The Standard, he said: “It is true that any government that wants to lift its people out of poverty should put proper mechanism in place to fight against corruption. So there were so many efforts in the past to fight against corruption but despite the setting up of anti-corruption commissions, it continues to be a problem even in the Jawara days. The anti-corruption commission of 2012 is quite a good law but we just have to see whether it will be implemented indiscriminately. The content of the statement which I have heard from the president is what I expect of any leader. I only hope is not the talks of a politician. The seven commissioners have to be men of integrity. It must be made sure that whenever the commission conducts any findings, the report is made public so that the tax payers will know about their activities and the recommendations are implemented.”   

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The UDP standard-bearer said any attempt to combat corruption should be led by top government officials in which they should make a public declaration of all their assets as is sanctioned by the constitution.

He added: “When I talk of corruption, I am talking about it in the wider context. It goes beyond petty bribes, nepotism or favouritism- in the more appropriate sense, the fight against corruption should begin with the leaders themselves. And when I say leaders I mean the president, ministers, members of the National Assembly, managing directors and permanent secretaries should, every two years, make a public declaration of their assets. This is in fact in the code of conduct which is provided for in the constitution- so that it will be known if the person has been living beyond their means. And the president should be the foremost in doing this public declaration of assets. I leave it with you to find out whether it has been happening or not but what I am saying is that this should be the start of any full scale war against corruption.

“If the president also gives out money, we should know the source of those funds- we hear sometimes that the president gives vehicles to departments costing millions; we should know where that money is sourced and if it is government money let it be publicised that the government has donated this or that and not President Jammeh. So we want the president to be the pacesetter and make a public declaration of his assets. I would have thought that when he announced the establishment of this anti-corruption commission at the National Assembly, he would have told all the top government officials to make a public declaration of their assets at a specific date. I would have done this if I were president. In fact, if I am president, I will not engage in any business because it could invoke conflict of interest.”

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