To say the former minister of Justice is in deep trouble in Gambia is an understatement. Former minister Lamin Jorbateh commonly known as babadinding Jorbateh is in a hot soup facing ten plus counts of official corruption and abuse of office alongside former solicitor General Pa Harry Jammeh and Ngoju Bah. The former minister is caught in a serious scandal and charged with several counts that could land him imprisonment for a very long time if not for the rest of his life.
Readers may recalled that Minister Lamin Jobarteh was earlier in the week arraigned alongside Pa Harry Jammeh at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court under a 10-count charge, which include conspiracy to defeat justice; abuse of office, official corruption, destroying evidence, and neglect of official duty, charges they denied. These charges could carry up to 20 years or more in Jail with hard labor.
To add insults to injury for Minister Jorbateh, there is a damming You Tube audio video circulating on the Internet and being aired on Freedom and Kibaroo radios containing exchanges between Minister Jobarteh and current Chief Justice Joseph Wowo. The Video link (click on link to listen) was initially posted on the web by Gambian Democratic activist group (DUGA) based in Washington DC. It contains some indicting unbelievable corruption conversations at the resident of former minister Jorbateh involving bribery and land deals. The audio revealed disturbing exchanges between two of the highest judicial officials in the Gambia depicting institutionalized corruption at the highest order. The current Chief Justice of the Gambia Joseph Wowo who was the acting Chief Justice at the time could be heard in the recording saying he is not even supposed to be at that meeting clearly admitting to corrupt backroom deals.
The question that baffles many people listening to the conversation is who recorded the video and decides to leak it to the whole world to hear? Clearly there is a long hidden battle between Minister Jobarteh and the new Chief Justice Joseph Wowo who was one time expelled from the country which was allegedly orchestrated by Jobarteh and Pa Harry Jammeh. Did minister Jobarteh record the conversation and decides to release it supposedly to implicate Joseph Wowo but in turn sentencing himself to death by virtue of his involvement?. Some wonder if Joseph Wowo may have released the audio to further implicate Jorbateh and prove that they were wrong when they conspired to send him out of the country.
One thing is abundantly clear, both Minister Jobarteh and Joseph Wowo are both corrupt individuals and were embarrassingly involved in an epidemic of institutional corruption in Gambia. They both deserve to be prosecuted to the full extend of the laws of the Gambia. It is also clear those critics of President Jammeh who accused him of implanting Gambia’s judiciary system with corrupt mercenary Nigerian judges has been vindicated.
The question now is, will Jobarteh and Ngoju Bah put everything on the line and testify against official corruption in Gambia including what President Jammeh may know? Many argue that they might as well come out and spill the beans about everything on President Jammeh as he is determined to set a nasty example on them that could potentially send them to jail for life. So what have they got to lose by testifying on what they know about the President’s involvement in corruption and state sanction killings. While these people may not even think about doing this against the president in fear of being tortured to dead or false hope of being released someday, it is certain they are up for a very rough ride.
One similar case that resembles this case was the conviction of the former inspector General of Police Essa Badgie well known as Jesus. Badgie was accused of official corruption, drug trafficking and abuse of office among others. He is serving a 20 year jail sentence at the country’s notorious Mile II prison. Badgie refused to testify against the government only alleging that he was tortured but missed the opportunity to put the President on the defense on what he might be involved in. It didn’t make any difference as Jesus is languishing in jail with regrets.
Minister Jobarteh and others have an opportunity to expose this administration by revealing in court what they know about the government. Though an unthinkable scenario, but it is time someone puts their life on the line and expose this regime. The cruelty and betrayal of the people who engage in institutional corruption for the regime only for it to turn around and victimize them must be confronted head on. The message to those Ministers and citizens serving in government positions is that they might as well start gathering documents in evidence of what this government is made up. As it is only a matter of time before the cruel system they serve so comfortably and help orchestrate turn against them. Are they willing to be another Njogu Bah, another Minister Jobarteh or Essa Badgie (Jesus), the ball is in their court.