The recent revelations of the National Audit Office have confirmed, yet again that the United Democratic Party’s claims that the Barrow administration is synonymous with endemic corruption, disregard for the rule of law and violations of common sense regulations.
The UDP joins the rest of The Gambia in condemning this gross misconduct by the Office of the President in opening and maintaining a bank account against clear directives, which led to the misappropriation of D669 million of poor taxpayer’s money as revealed by the audit report of the government’s own audit unit. We join the chorus of voices in demanding for a parliamentary enquiry into the operation of such an illegal bank account.
The D669,000,000.00 scandal came on the heels of so many other corruption allegations that have been levelled against almost every department of this government. From the illegal allocation of lands at the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, the D4,000,000.00 Fraud at the Central Bank under Ministry of Finance, D50,000,000.00 fraud at Gampetroleum, under of Ministry of Energy, allegations of fraud at the Tourism Ministry, involving the Minister himself referred to the National Assembly Select Committee on Public Petition, Newspaper undercover revelations of fraud at Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Health, the unresolved fertilizer theft at Ministry of Agriculture- that the president himself admitted he had knowledge that people entrusted with distribution diverted the stock. The list is long and ongoing.
The Auditor General was clear in his report; there was no evidence indicating that the relevant line ministry (Finance) gave approval for such accounts to be opened and operated, and the regulations governing public procurement were disregarded, with impunity we must add.
With the foregoing, we call on the National Assembly, Civil Society Organizations and all relevant stakeholders to demand further investigations and holding those culpable to account.
We call on the ministry of Justice especially, as the foremost law enforcement agency to look into such claims of violations of the law and spare no effort in seeking to prosecute any violators. It is high time the ministry sees itself as servants of the people tasked with enforcing the law and not mere advisers to the President.
It is long overdue that corruption and mismanagement, which have become endemic under President Barrow, be stamped out of the public service with legal action and not mere lip service.