Gambia: 'Over D50 Million Spent On 'Janneh' Commission' Justice Minister

Banjul, The Gambia (file photo).

The Minister of Justice Aboubacarr Tambadu, has disclosed that total amount of money spent by the 'Janneh' Commission since its inception in July 2017, is fifty million, nine hundred and fifty one thousand, two hundred and sixty one dalasi (50,951,261).

This amount Tambadu said, includes all expenses incurred during the course of investigations by Commissioners, including but not limited to honorarium paid to them and fifty eight staff working for the Commission; that throughout this period, Counsel's fees, fuel, stationery, food, security, rentals, etc., were paid from this amount.

Minister Tambadu made this disclosure on Tuesday March 26th 2019 before Lawmakers in Banjul, during the oral questions and answer session for which due notices were given to his Ministry, on how much money spent on the said Commission since its inception.

"We must also note that during the course of its work, the Commission was able to generate monies from its activities including D67, 894,170.00 from the sale of 138 tractors, and 458 vehicles including scraps; D8, 302,970.00 from the sale of 725 heads of cattle as well as hidden bank accounts that were either frozen and or discovered as a result of their work. The work of the 'Janneh' Commission should not however be measured in monetary terms alone. The value of their work exceeds the monetary value I am sharing with this assembly," Minister Tambadu told deputies.

He reported that the Commission's work, has been conducted in a professional manner, with respect and adherence to due process, fairness, and transparency; that they have exposed the alarming scale of corruption and financial delinquency of the former president, and shared information generated in the course of tracking and recovering assets procured through illicit enrichment; that they have registered some success in this endeavor, and have seen a tightening of financial regulations by Government departments and agencies to prevent corruption and financial leakages within the system.

Justice Minister Tambadu told deputies that they intend to recover the entire cost of the 'Janneh' Commission's investigations by making those against whom adverse financial findings have been made, to bear the cost of recovery, in proportion to their responsibilities as found; that the sale of cattle and vehicles was not under the purview of the Commission but the Sheriff Division of the High Court.

On how much each Commissioner received during sittings, the Minister responded that as a matter of simple arithmetic, at every point he appeared before the Assembly requesting for an approval for the remuneration of the Commissioners, he has always indicated the amount requested, which is equivalent to one hundred thousand dalasi for each Commissioner per month, except for six months.

Minister Tambadu said the 138 tractors packed at residences of Chiefs and Police Stations could be due to the fact that they were either waiting for their owners to collect them or were not counted as part of the list.

On the consultation and sale of these tractors with the Ministry of Agriculture, Minister Tambadu said the 'Janneh' Commission is independent and it takes independent decisions. On consultations, he said this was left to the discretion of the Commission; that the Commission takes decisions based on their judgment.

The tractors he said were sold based on the urgency of the Commission. On the mandate to value and sell the tractors, Minister Tambadu said the Commission disposed of the assets based on interim orders. On the value of the tractors and other items that the Commission sold, Minister Tambadu referred deputies to the report which is due on the president's desk on Friday March 29th, and further directed them to see the report on the number of properties sold and the bank accounts frozen. He finally commended the Commissioners for a job well done.

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