Editorial: Are payments of D500,000 (Over D2million) to the Janneh Commissioners justified?

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Gainako find it very curious why the Janneh commission is seeking D500,000 payment for each commissioner for another three months. So far the Janneh commissioners have each received over D2,000,000 (Two Million Dalasis in less than a year and half for doing commission work. Are the commissioners seeking these increases or is Ba Tambedou Justice Minister and Ministry of Finance lobbying for these people to get such a high pay? What kind of work are these people doing that other Gambians are not doing? The President’s salary is D255,000 a month. Which other government employee regular or contractor gets paid D500,000 in three months.

If the commissioners are asking for such increment we question their commitment to the nation. What are they sacrificing for the nation? We remember that Lawyer Janneh had owed millions of Dalasis in taxes during Jammeh’s regime and he and many other lawyers were forced to pay those back taxes. Are these commissioners paying taxes with these funds? Have they paid all their taxes in full? Given the financial status of our country is it justified for these commission to continue to sit? The commission has become a showcase where people go to lie, tell bogus stories and blame Jammeh for their own responsibilities.

At a time when our nation is struggling to put food on the table for the ordinary citizen, our health centers are empty without medical equipment, our government is bankrupt, our children are failing in school and our teachers are as poor as church mouse, these commissioners are getting paid almost D2 Million dalasis for less than a full year of work; because the commissioners don’t sit every day. How many days do they work a week?

Is this another elitism and networking where someone well connected is lobbying for these commissioners to be paid that much money? Where is the incentive for Gambian legal scholars to work for the government in the Judiciary? Why wouldn’t all of them go into private practice? Isn’t this one of the reasons why we had several Nigerian and other activists judges from other countries infest our justice system during the second republic?.

We question the rationale why Lawyer Janneh, Amy Bensouda and these other junior commissioners are being paid luxury salary that some of them cannot even get in private practice. The Gambian is so self centered, the Gambian is so self motivated for personal wealth and success at the expense of the nation. You would expect that these commissioners after months of sitting without any signs of being able to charge anybody or recover Jammeh’s stolen assets, would not continue to ask for half a million dalasis payment for sitting two or three days a week.

Can anybody convince Gambians that these payments are justified for sitting and taking breaks every 30 minutes? Gambians appear to have little interest in the ongoing commissions. It is becoming a joke that people who appeared before the commissioners and admitted wrong doing are now serving high level positions in the Barrow government. This collect what you can mentality is detrimental to our country. Few people seems to have the will to sacrifice. And we expect a better nation. To whom much is given much is expected! No one seems to be patriotic enough to sacrifice for the nation.

We are not oppose to people being paid for their services, we have advocated paying people for some level of service to motivate them. Where is the motivation for national duty? But what we are seeing with the Janneh commission is a joke. We question the rationale of such payment and the moral reason for continuing to pay these commissioners such money. We believe they are unreasonable and the Gambian people need to question these payments. The National Assembly should not approve any additional payments. In fact why was there no deadline given for this commission? How comes they can ask for extension not once but three times? Who signs a costly contract with a commission that has no end in their mandate?  The question is in comparison how much were the Faraba commissioners paid? How much were the Social Security Commission saga paid? How much were the Kanilai Commissioners paid? What about other commissions. The selfishness in our country is mind bugling. Transparency, corrupt intend and unfair practices seems to be embedded in our DNA, and we expect to have a better country for our children and grand children. It is all about what one can get for themselves and their families. The rest is God for us all and every man for themselves. The poor farmer, the fisherman, the carpenter, the market vendor, the women gardeners are the people who suffers the most. The youths are the victims… It is a pity that no one seems to care for the poor! and we claim strong faith and patriotism everyday!!! What a sad reality.

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