Gambia: Dr. Ceesay Tasks Govt to Get Rid of Corruption

22 February 2021

Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, the leader of the Citizens' Alliance (CA) has called on The Gambia government to end the "high-level" corruption in the country.

He was speaking to the press on Friday during his party's monthly press conference in Kanifing.

Dr. Ceesay said corruption is a very big issue in the country but the government has not been too serious to end it.

He cited a report released on 28 January 2021 by the Corruption Perception Index 2020, placing The Gambia at 102 least corrupt country out of 180 countries.

"We have dropped from 96 to 102 from 2019. It means there have been no improvements so far as our corruption indicators are concerned. We have dropped the ladder a bit," Ceesay said.

The lecturer said since assuming office in 2017, the government has never presented any coherent strategy to fight corruption.

"There have been many allegations of corruption but nothing has been done about it [by the government]. The government has not been serious in fighting corruption," he emphasised.

The CA's flagbearer said the government has appointed people into the system who have a history of aiding and abetting corruption as found in the published "Janneh Commission Report".

The Brikama born politician said the lowest score for the government is the lack of transparency and wide-spread public sector corruption.

Ceesay cited reports in 2020 that the president purchased 23 Toyota Hilux vehicles and some buses for his political party - the National People's Party, but until today the source of funding remains unknown to the public. He said the lack of transparency around the way the government operates affects The Gambia's standing in terms of corruption.

"The sales of Jammeh's assets by the government were not transparent. The government should be able to tell us exactly about Jammeh's assets - we need to know what assets were sold, the prices they were sold and who bought them," Ceesay said.

He said the government should tell the public what happened to the Jammeh's assets.

Dr. Ceesay mentioned that there was an audit in state owned enterprises such as GRA, GPA, Social Security, Gamtel, Nawec and GNPC among others by a British audit firm which was completed, but the government "refused to publish or do anything about that report".

"Very serious recommendations were put into that report," he said.

He added the auditors stated in that report some of those enterprises, under normal circumstances, should have been "insolvent by now" because of the way they are run.

He argued that the lack of transparency in the mining sector is also a factor that affects The Gambia's standing on the corruption perception index.

"The government gave black sand mining to one of the founders of the president's political party and what they are doing is to indiscriminately destroy the environment," Dr. Ceesay stated.

He said the "Janneh Commission" recommended in its report that the government should declare a moratorium on all mining activities and do a scientific study to establish the damages done and rehabilitate accordingly.

"They continue to give licences for mining," Ceesay said.

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