The Gambia said it is ready to not only implement the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption at the domestic level but to also coordinate and cooperate with other nations and offer legal assistance were needed to curb economic and organized crime related activities across our borders.
The West African nation’s chief lawyer Mama Fatima Singhateh validated a bill to established an anti-corruption agency and said corruption undermines democracy and good governance.
The Gambia’s government is said to be authoritarian and President Yahya Jammeh has been accused of ruling the nation of fewer than two million people will an iron-fist. The country, now called the North Korea of Africa is an information black hole and one of the last strong dictatorships in western Africa.
Fresh indictments have been filed against at least five other officials including a former petroleum minister holding them liable for conspiracy to commit a felony and economic crimes.
President Yahya Jammeh has vowed to set an example out of them, adding it is the worst corruption scandal since he took power in a military coup in 1994.
Singhateh, however, believes that collective efforts over the past several years have been fruitful in advancing anti-corruption efforts in the government, and said the Jammeh administration will partner with other institutions and coordinate to improve the effectiveness of their anti-corruption crusade.
Gambian authorities overrode the court bail of one of its officials, Fafa Sayang who is being detained by the National Intelligence Agency. Authorities did not say why he was rearrested.
Activists say The Gambia’s new anti-corruption agency will be used as a witch-hunting scheme on opponents of the regime, especially those within the civil service who may have been suspected of supporting opposing groups.
But Attorney General Singhateh said corruption with its negative impact on the national economy and infrastructure, the prevention requires the efforts of all stakeholders in government, non-government, and civil society organizations to entrench good governance and activate competent internal control systems.
Last month, a parliamentary oversight body found serious financial flaws including unpresented payment vouchers, vouchers without supporting documents, procurement regulation breaches, single quotation vouchers and misclassified expenses were widespread in the Gambia government with millions unaccounted for.
President Yahya Jammeh himself has been accused of some of the worst corrupt practices in the country: his office goes unaudited; owns a $3.5 million mansion in Washington, D.C. area and has a reported net worth about a billion dollars.