By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia government promised to pay victims of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) D150 million in the 2022 Budget cycle on the same day of the Never Again March in October 2022, however, it seems victims may not receive any compensation this year.
The TRRC is a Commission enacted by the Gambia’s Fifth Legislature under the Government of President Adama in 2017 to document the human rights violations that occurred under the leadership of former President Yahya Jammeh.
The Vice Chairperson of the now defunct TRRC, Madam Adelaide Sosseh, who chaired the Reparations Committee, told members of the media on 16th July 2022 that the “total Reparations to be paid [to 956 Victims] is D205,820,780”. In addition to this, another D32.4 million is to be paid to the families of 54 West Africans killed in 2005. These payments are not included in the D206 Million according to former TRRC Chair Dr Lamin J. Sise.
Gainako can reveal that D163 million was allocated under a budget line titled Reparations under “Centralised Services” for 2022. This was approved by Hon members of the Fifth Legislature after the former Finance Minister, Hon Mambury Njie, tabled the 2022 Budget back in late 2021.
However, after reviewing the 2022 Approved Revised Budget it can be seen that only D100 million has been allocated under the same “Reparations” budget line in Centralised Services. This was approved by Hon members of the Sixth Legislature after the current Finance Minister, Hon Seedy Keita, tabled the Revised 2022 Budget in late July 2022.
This indicates that D63 million has already been removed from the Reparations Budget Line. It is now understood that Victims will be paid D150 million in the 2023 Budget cycle instead of being paid in 2022.
This article features years of knowledge gained by Gainako through monitoring the TRRC and the Reparations being paid to Victims. The first funds allocated to the TRRC for Reparations were issued back in 2019 under the leadership of then Justice Minister Hon Baa Tambedu. On that very same day, another D50 million was promised to be paid to victims, however, that never materialised.
Last July during the Reparations Press Conference, Vice Chairperson Madam Sosseh told members of the press that the Government “gave the TRRC D50 million with a promise to give an additional D50 million. The promise was not kept for reasons that are out of our control”.
With regards to expenses issued, during the Reparations Press Briefing, Vice Chairperson Madam Sosseh explained that D13 million was spent from the D50 million on Interim Reparations leaving D37 million to be spent on the first round of Reparations Payments issued to victims at the end of the Commission’s hearings. Since then, nothing has been paid to the victims as Reparations yet.
It’s not clear how much Reparations have been paid out to victims during the first round. It must also be noted that more than one victim has refused to collect their reparations payment, meaning that some victims don’t want money as reparations.
Recap of Events
On the 16th of July 2021 at the Reparations Press Conference, it was revealed that;
198 victims to be paid D50,000 and below will receive full payment. Vice-Chair Sosseh says for these set of people Government owes no more money as they will be paid in full.
758 victims to be paid over D50,000 in instalments with Government paying the remaining instalment later. The highest payment is D600,000 for unlawful killings.
For the 54 West Africans Vice-Chair Sosseh says Government owes D32 million. By Gainako’s calculations D600,000 x 54 is D32.4 million.
In total, this means that 1,010 Victims are to be paid a total of D238 million.
The data above starts with the Reparations allocated to victims in the 2022 Approved Budget of D163 million which equates to just below 69% of the total Reparations Payments [D238 million] identified by the TRRC. The second amount is the reduced amount allocated in the Revised 2022 Budget approved in late July 2022 which translates to just over 42% of the total Reparations Payments.
This means that if the Government decides to pay the D100 million to the victims this year, which appears highly unlikely, then almost 60% of the payments will still be outstanding.
Under the leadership of the current Minister of Justice Hon Dawda Jallow, nothing has been paid to the Victims as Reparations since former Justice Minister Hon Ba Tambedu secured the first allocation of D50 million. Since then promises continue to be made but nothing has been paid to the Victims as Reparations.
The current Minister continues to maintain that the D150 million promised to Victims last year is available in the 2022 Budget but it now appears that nothing will be paid to victims this year.
It should be noted that more victims may request reparations and the Minister of Justice, Hon Dawda Jallow told Gainako after a series of questions that the Government is willing to review payments made to ensure that victims receive adequate compensation. So the total reparations quoted in this article may increase in the future.
Below are the two pages from the Approved 2022 Budget and the Approved Revised 2022 Budget.