Gambian Agriculture Minister and leader of the PPP party, Omar Jallow is supporting the non-public disclosure of assets taking a swipe at critics, who questioned the government’s commitment to transparency.
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow said assets of his cabinet ministers will only be declared to Ombudsman and shall not be made available to the public.
Mr. Barrow was criticized for the policy and pro-democracy campaigners say it defeats the purposes of having assets declared. Barrow cited privacy concerns.
“If the ministers were to declare their assets to the public, who is going to investigate to ensure the process was flawless or its accuracy,” Jallow said in an interview with the Standard Newspaper.
“That is why they used a government institution that has a mandate that involves such declaration, the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman has the mandate to investigate whether all my assets were declared or not.”
Jallow said the critics do not understand how the system works. However, minister failed to meet the initial deadline to declare their assets and two ministers are yet to declare their assets beyond the second deadline.
The PPP was ousted by the regime of Yahya Jammeh over corruption concerns. Jammeh’s coming to power had popular support but he also now stands accused of causing more extensive damage to the Gambia’s economy than the Jawara administration.
An opposition leader, Mama Kandeh is already charging Gambian ministers of corrupt practices, accusing them of pocketing foreign aid and loans.
Gambia’s Foreign Minister, Ousainou Darboe has called Kandeh’s allegation “irresponsible” and challenged him to provide evidence.
Gambian officials say they have nothing to hide from the wary population, who are just starting to learn of the extent of Jammeh’s snatching of billions from the state’s coffers.