Right 2 Know calls on President Barrow to ‘Show political will and act on the OCCRP report’

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His Excellency President Adama Barrow
President of the Republic of The Gambia
No 1 Anne Marie Javouhey Ave
State House
Banjul
10 April, 2018

Open Letter to President Adama Barrow: Show political will and act on the OCCRP report

Your Excellency, Mr President:

the Right 2 Know Coalition-Gambia extends its greetings and compliments to you and your entire government. We write in the true spirit of partnership, with the aim of assisting your administration better deploy its mandate, promised to the electorate, at this critical time, when the country is still emerging from a post-tyrannical regime.

Mr President, we wish to draw your attention to a recently released report detailing the shocking and unacceptable conspiracies by ex-president Jammeh and his accomplices, some of whom are still in your administration, to extort the country and loot its meagre resources. These acts of criminality, which spanned two decades, have resulted in the country losing one billion dollars to the rampant, unbridled and attendant corruption under ex-president Jammeh. The report, which was released last week by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a global network of investigative journalists, presents irrefutable evidence of how the country was captured and eventually stolen. It details how state owned enterprises, public finances, pensioners’ monies, donor aid, were all misappropriated to the tune of at least $975 million. Among the accomplices biggest targets and scores were:

  • $363.9 million from the state-run telecoms company GAMTEL;
  • $325.5 million in illicit timber revenue from the Casamance, Southern Senegal;
  • more than $100 million in foreign aid and soft loans from Taiwan;
  • $71.2 million from the Central Bank of The Gambia;
  • $60 million from the Social Security and Housing Finance Corp., which manages disability, housing, and pension payments; and
  • $55.2 million from the state-run oil company- GNPC.

Your Excellency, these figures are staggering for any country, especially for a small and impoverished nation like The Gambia, which you now lead. The acts were so audacious, that to ignore them would not only be seen to be irresponsible, morally reprehensible and complicit, but possibly illegal. This is precisely so because the least that your government should do is to react to the report, especially as the facts show, that it was your very administration that encouraged such an undertaking to investigate corruption under ex-president Jammeh. Your administration has publicly called for information on any acts of illegality and corruption to be ventilated, whether through the process of the established Janneh Commission and or, in other fora including the media and other public spaces. This report has responded to those requests made by your administration in the most deliberate and thorough manner. We are however, saddened and extremely alarmed at the loud silence from your good self and the government you lead, over these startling revelations. We are further disappointed that despite the evidence presented in this report, and by extension the Janneh Commission itself, whereby individuals admitted to taking part in looting of state coffers and enterprises; individuals who admitted to committing crimes of theft and conspiring to commit acts of corruption, are not only left to shamelessly gloat with impunity over their escapades, but are still under the employs of your government; and some have been elevated to higher public office. This does not inspire confidence.

Mr. President, we urge you to show political will and act on the OCCRP report, by at the very least,
suspending those that were at the helm of these entities when the corrupt practices took place and
commence investigations as a matter of urgency. Anything short of decisive action will undermine
your credibility, weaken your administration, and blemish any legacy that follows you during and
beyond your presidency.

Mr President, Gambians that placed their trust in your leadership by voting for the 2016 coalition are becoming disillusioned,so is the regional community that placed a major premium in your ascendancy to the highest office, by affording you their support and security in times of uncertainty; and the international community that demonstrated their magnanimity and supporting our collective
developmental aspirations to want to be a better people, and a shining example of a country
reformed.

Sincerely,

R2K Coalition- Gambia
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Who: Right 2 Know- (R2K) Gambia, started its work in October 2016, focusing on elections integrity around the then, now famed, 2016 Presidential elections, when Jammeh was ousted from power. Our membership/following has since grown to 4,800 people. The founders are a grouping of individuals with professional backgrounds ranging from geology, demographics, economics, international relations and law, communications, and academia. All members are human rights activists. We are located in The Gambia, US, UK, West and Southern Africa. We are a non-partisan entity that focuses on rule of law and democracy, good governance, human rights and the principles of access to information and freedom of expression.

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