By Edrissa Jallow, @EdrissaJallow10
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon Dawda Jallow responded to a Parliamentary question on the reasons for the delay in the implementation of the Janneh Commission Recommendations. The Janneh Commission was initiated by President Adama Barrow in July 2017 and investigated the “financial and other related activities of certain public bodies, enterprises, and offices as regards their dealings with former President Yahya Jammeh” and his close associates.
Provision 200, subsection (d) of the Gambia’s 1997 Constitution mandates that “the President may, whenever he or she deems it advisable, issue a Commission appointing one or more Commissioners authorizing such Commissioners to inquire into any matter whatever arising in The Gambia” for the public good.
The Commission concluded its work after a year and some months of investigations and submitted its nine (9) volume Report to President Barrow in March 2019.
On Wednesday 30th November 2022 the member for Busumbala, Hon Muhammed Kanteh read a question on behalf of the member for Janjanbureh, Hon Omar Jammeh requesting for the Minister of Justice “to update this august Assembly on the reasons for the delay in the implementation of the Government White Papers on both the Janneh Commission and TRRC recommendations?”
This publication features the responses relating to the Janneh Commission.
“The assets of former President Jammeh and a number of his close associates have been forfeited to the state and a number of them have been auctioned and the funds paid to the state,” said Justice Minister Jallow in response to the Parliamentary question.
A Gainako publication issued yesterday highlights exactly how much has been recovered so far.
Justice Minister Jallow explained that some individuals who were recommended by the Janneh Commission to be banned from holding public office have been implemented, and “the next stage now is to refer the matter to the public service commission for a decision”.
According to the Attorney General, “some lands illegally appropriated or seized by the former president have been either returned to the Ministry of Land or to affected communities and individuals”.
The findings of the Janneh Commission indicate that at least D1,065,012,512 (one billion and sixty-five million, and twelve thousand Dalasis); $304, 718, 071 (three hundred and four million, and seven hundred and eighteen thousand and seventy-one Dollars); €29, 475, 269 (twenty-nine million, and four hundred and seventy-five thousand, and two hundred and sixty-nine Euros); and GBP2,250,000 (two million, and two hundred and fifty thousand Pounds Sterling) “have been directly wasted, misappropriated or diverted by former President Jammeh”.
Justice Minister Jallow added that “accounts which used to be under the Office of the President from which funds were misappropriated by the former President are no longer under control of the office of the President”. It’s not clear if the accounts have been closed and the funds deposited into the Gambian Treasury or if the Accounts have been handed over to any Government Institution.
However, the Minister explained that they are currently facing some legal challenges in the court of Appeals. “We [Government] currently have several appeals that are being litigated at the court of appeal pending which action cannot take on this matter,” said Minister Jallow.
It’s important to note that Provision 204, subsection (2) of The Gambia’s 1997 constitution provides that “a person against whom any such adverse finding has been made may appeal against such finding to the Court of Appeal”.