Professor Dr. Lamin Conteh, says the monthly salary of Gambia’s Foreign Minister and UDP leader Ousainou Darboe, should be garnished by the Adama Barrow government, because the politician is owing back taxes to the state in the tune of close to D 2 Million dalasi. Mr. Conteh, who was speaking during an interview with Freedom Radio Gambia on Tuesday, said the new Barrow government should recover taxes owed to the state by the likes of Darboe and co.
“ Ousainou Darboe’s wages should be garnished. If the Daily Observer can be penalized for not paying taxes, why not Lawyer Darboe, the leader of the opposition United Democratic Party, and also our Foreign Minister? I just don’t get it. He should pay up his back taxes,” sConteh, an Accounting Professor tells Freedom Radio Gambia.
Mr. Conteh was shocked about the over two billion dalasi income tax liabilities owed to the state by income tax evaders in the country. Leading members of the Bar, hotel owners, Insurance Companies, and private health facilities were among those listed as tax defaulters.
“I was talking to a Friend, and the issue of Darboe evading taxes some years ago, came up in our conversation. I couldn’t understand how comes that he has been found evading taxes for the second time. I believe in the Commission Report. He owed close to D 2 million dalasi. He should pay up or have his salary garnished. It is not fair for the Barrow government to go after the Daily Observer and leave defaulters like Darboe,” he said
Mr. Conteh also accuses Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe of transforming Gambia’s Foreign Ministry as a UDP political bureau. He said Mr. Darboe has favored his loved ones, family members and party supporters by appointing them as Ambassadors.
“ I am not going to classify Mr. Darboe’s conduct whether ethical or unethical. Mr. Darboe is giving the appearance of a violation of ethical principles by hiring those family friends. We are looking at the nepotism and cronyism that’s going on in this country. And I kept emphasizing this: why would close family members be given preference over qualified Gambians? And why would our Foreign Service be politicized and tribalized to an extent? I have never seen anything like this before. I don’t see the difference between Yahya Jammeh Foreign Service and that of Barrow’s Foreign Service,” Professor Conteh remarked.
Mr. Conteh was reacting to Ousainou Darboe’s claim that he (Darboe) never took part in the redeployment or employment of Isatou Badjie, as First Secretary at the Gambian Mission at the UN. The UDP leader recorded a whatsapp message, which was shared on his party’s supporters social media forum, in which he appealed for calm over the public outrage in regards to Ms. Badjie’s appointment. Mr. Darboe said it is not his role to interfere in the operations of the Civil Service; hence he debunked any claim coming from any quarters that he facilitated the deployment of Ms. Badjie to the UN. Ms. Badjie has been referred to as a former Jammeh enabler and supporter; a charge she denied.
Professor Conteh is working on registering a political party in the Gambia, purposely to curb UDP’s tribal political agenda. He said his party’s support base will primarily be driven from social media websites such as Facebook.
“I hope Ousainou Darboe is listening. We need to stop this cronyism and nepotism. Mr. Ousainou Darboe is giving the appearance that he is in control of the hiring process in the Foreign Service. Number one, his cousin Dr. Sidat Jobe, Ambassador to where? Ambassador to France. Two vocal supporters of the UDP; one from Raleigh, and one from Seattle Washington, appointed Ambassadors. Ebrima Dibba has the audacity to say that you have to join the UDP in order to enjoy? Are we in a dictatorship? How comes all those UDP Executive members were hired as Ambassadors? That’s nepotism,” he said.
“ I am trying to form a political party through Facebook. And let me tell you this: We are drafting the constitution, and I want every Gambian to give us input; because what I have seen in the history of the Gambia, whenever the leader of a political party dies, the party dies with him. I believe that when we form the party, no one should have the unilateral power to control the activities of the party; because that’s what’s happening now. Ousainou Darboe decides everything for the Barrow government. And they have do according to what he asked. So, I am going to sponsor a political party and appoint a Gambian to lead the party,” he said.
Professor Conteh called on Gambians to come together and stop the UDP agenda to consolidate power through tribal politics, nepotism, and cronyism. He said he is a born Mandinka, but some folks on social media will go extra miles to question the authenticity of his ethnicity. He tried to convincing them, but he said his critics believed that he is a Mandinka impostor.
Mr. Conteh also rebuffed the notion that the Mandinkas constitute the 40 percent of Gambia’s population. He said come the next elections such political myth would be defused, as Gambians will vote against Ousainou Darboe and the UDP. He observed that a good number of Mandinkas do not buy UDP’s divisive tribal politics.
The US based Accounting professor is also not happy with the recent firing of the Central Bank of the Gambia officials. He said the CBG has been tribalized by the Barrow government.
“All three Governors appointed are Mandinkas. One particular tribe is running the bank. The first Deputy Governor Saikou Jabbi, is a Mandina, Bakary Jammeh, the Governor is a Mandinka, Touray, the other Governor is a Mandinka. I was told that Jabbi’s mother is related to Ousainou Darboe. The previous management of the Bank came from diverse tribes; unlike what is happening right now,” Conteh lamented.
He also criticized the ongoing plans to sell Megabank Gambia to a Senegalese investor, one Kaillou Waggeh. He said the regime should encourage Gambian businesses to invest in banking than allowing a Senegalese to take over the bank.