We need an independent audit of the financial activities of the former Jammeh administration in the interest of accountability, transparency and probity. A statement of account about the alleged financial embezzlement perpetrated by Jammeh and his cronies, coming from the Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh, is not enough for one to draw a compelling conclusion or make a fitting informed opinion about what actually transpired during Jammeh’s rule. The books must be properly audited before passing any judgment. If it means setting up a Commission of Enquiry to probe into the matter, it is worth doing. Making statements without backing it up with facts is a disservice to a nation oppressed for twenty two years. We do not need another mediocre government.
Notwithstanding, Minister Sanneh should be commended for furnishing the nation with a preliminary report about some of the alleged corrupt financial practices, which he claimed to have occurred during Jammeh’s era.
Folks, for Mr. Sanneh’s report to be rendered credible, there should be an independent audit of the line Ministries, including the former Jammeh State House. Keep in mind that Mr. Sanneh was hired barely less than three weeks ago. For him, to come up with allegations of financial embezzlement or impropriety, at this hour, without properly auditing the books speaks volume. This is not by any means one trying to doubt or downplay the magnitude of corruption perpetrated by Jammeh and his cronies.
Government should arm itself with authoritative, dependable, reliable and verifiable facts before rushing to conclusion on matters of national importance. We are talking about decades of alleged financial mismanagement, and decadence. Now how comes a rookie Minister, just released from jail to make such telling statements without verifiable facts to substantiate his claims. Gambians please let us observe the rule of due process before passing judgment on folks, who denied us the same rights as enshrined by our constitution.
Mr. Sanneh needs to properly orient himself about the state of affairs at his Ministry, before rushing to brief the press about Jammeh’s alleged financial crimes. He is either relying on financial information given to him by former Jammeh appointees, to feed an information thirsty nation, without independently verifying the veracity of the announced information. As the late president Reagan used to say: Trust, but verify.
It should be noted that the Finance Ministry is a crime scene. Jammeh appointed Permanent Secretaries, senior and low cadre officials working with Mr. Sanneh at this hour, cannot be absolved from possible abdication of duties—given the positions they manned in the past. Therefore, it is foolhardy for the new Minister to accept any purported financial embezzlement report given to him by possible former Jammeh enablers, or officials, currently serving and might be linked to the alleged financial crimes.
Mr. Sanneh should consider collaborating with the Justice Ministry, under the leadership of Abubacarr Tambadou, with the approval of the President Adama Barrow, to probe into the past financial activities of the Jammeh State House and government. Any report issued now in the absence of proper investigation, could be construed as “speculative, half-truths, and propaganda.”
The Justice Minister is the competent official, who can constitute a Commission of Enquiry with the approval of the president. The Finance Minister should avoid making statements that might have some legal ramifications. Let us allow the rule of law to take its cause. The Executive should not overstep its bounds.
If Mr. Sanneh is privy to any adverse financial information, which has caused the state an economic distress, he should channel it to the Justice Ministry, or cabinet for necessary remedial actions to be taken than making statements which could preempt any future Commission of Enquiry. Mr. Sanneh’s claim will no doubt arm the alleged perpetrators currently serving with him to abscond and ultimately escape justice. We should be mindful of our pronouncements before those linked to such an alleged embezzlement will evade justice.
We expect Mr. Sanneh to tell us the source of the funds used to finance the historic independence celebrations, which coincided with president Barrow’s inauguration; if there is any donation made to the new government by the business community; and funds committed by donor partners to fill the current financial void, and so on; than meddling into matters that are outside his domain or purview as an Executive member. Mr. Sanneh can only credibly testify on issues he witness or privy to and not corruption perpetrated by Jammeh and his enablers currently orienting him (Sanneh) on issues pertaining to his Ministry. We rest our case.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai