Breaking News: Senior UDP Member of the National Assembly Confirms Receiving Funds from the President

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Following allegations of President Barrow engaging in bribing members of the National Assembly by Uppder Fulladu West Member Sanna Jawara, a senior member of the National Assembly and Gambian Journalist Madi Ceesay has confirmed receiving funds from the President. Mr. Ceesay made this admission while speaking to Omar Wally of the Fatu Network. Quizzed on whether he indeed received funds from the President Mr. Ceesay said “Yes I received funds from the President” Asked if he had asked what the money was for Mr. Ceesay angrily responded that he did not ask and that it was not an obligation for him to ask what the funds were meant for.

Mr. Ceesay’s admission of receiving funds confirms Mr. Jawara’s allegations that the president gave out money to members of the National Assembly through one of his aids Lamin Cham. The President’s office released a short press statement denying the alleged bribery but added that the President has been helping individuals and groups whenever they want. Atleast one other member Saikouba Jarju of Busumbala denied receiving such funds. Mr. Jarju speaking to Fatu Network said he was there to clear his name that he has not received any funds.

Mr. Madi Ceesay is a renown Gambian journalist who is the founder of the Daily News whose paper was shut down by Yahya Jammeh’s government for being critical for the government. Mr. Ceesay is himself known to be very critical of the former government. On numerous occasions his paper condemned the former Gambian leader on his human rights and abuse of office. Mr. Ceesay’s accepting of funds without asking is quite troubling. He appeared very angry when Omar Wally asked why he did not ask the reason for the funds. Ceesay said the president gave him D10,000 and not millions.

It is somewhat disappointing that Honorable Ceesay would defend receiving any form of monetary gift from the President. In fact many believe that Mr. Ceesay knows better than that and is one of the leaders of the National Assembly. His assertion that he was given the money without conditions is quite surprising. In his capacity as a National Assembly Member Mr. Ceesay and many others fully knows their responsibilities and cannot accept gifts from the President or anybody. Mr. Ceesay’s contention that he will again accept gift from the President is borderline disturbing.

Many Gambians are seriously bothered by this confirmed gift from the President. It is becoming a pattern that for President Barrow to engage in donating cash and materials to not only law makers but other institutions and citizens. These acts of donating the people’s resources to private individuals and public institutions to win their support is very troubling. This was Jammeh’s play book who bought his loyalty from Gambians for twenty-two years. The president occupying the people’s office cannot engage in giving funds in an effort to buy political loyalty. It is a mistake and borderlines corruption. If Gambia had strong institutions, this would have been a criminal investigation of both the President and the National Assembly Members. They are representing the interest of the Gambian people and must therefore cannot accept any form of gift from an equal branch of government. Mr. Ceesay however deserves credit for accepting the truth of receiving the funds. Gambians hope that he will help champion a bill in the National Assembly to stop the president and government officials from bribing citizens in positions of authority. At the very least I will minimize the form of corruption emanating from the executive.

Report filed by Demba Baldeh

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