A nation neither belongs to a single family nor a clan of individuals deliberately defying every standard of ethical operations and governing laws of the land. A leader who often declared ZERO tolerance for corruption hired select individuals who were willing to bend backwards to carry out orders illegal or not to satisfy the desires of the leader. His power got so entrenched and so comfortable he told the whole World he owned the country (Degabe Maa Ko Mom). He became so arrogant he played God to the Gambian people and people believed him and paid unquestionable loyalty to him whether what he was doing was right or wrong.
This false prophesy of former dictator Yahya Jammeh was showcased this week at the commission of inquiry into the assets and financial operations of the former President. The commission is probing into illegal operations of the former President through his financial dealings, government operations and criminalization of government officials into taking orders to turn the country into his personal property. It was painful to listen to foreign nationals and citizens who could never have gotten close to any government contracts by virtue of their qualifications, lack of skills and or sense of responsibility give accounts of businesses they were assigned to operate on behalf of the President. They narrated laundry lists of fake businesses they created through the approval and instruction of the ‘the most patriotic’ President so as to have access to the country’s meager resources. They opened businesses and partnered with the President and dishonest citizens to loot our tiny nation of its much needed resources. They shamelessly lied in front of the whole nation failing to tell the commission the truth which was evidence in a lot of their dealings through signatures and backroom deals. The revelation of the foreign nationals were just the tip of the iceberg.
Fast forward to the testimony of Momodou Sabally, Momodou A. Sallah and others who were appointed to one of the most important office as Secretary General and head of the Civil Service. The Secretary General is the head of Civil Service and gateway keeper to the highest office of the land – the office of the President. This person(s) should be of highest moral character and professionalism who doesn’t only protect the integrity of the President’s office but a role model to thousands of citizens serving in the civil service. How anybody appointed to this noble office with sense of right and wrong could allow themselves to be used as a tool to rob the nation of it’s ethics and integrity is beyond comprehension. Mr. Sabally in his testimony told the commission he “Did not have the courage to question the President” on his orders. “He was too powerful and I needed to be careful”. Yet this was the same Momodou Sabally who stood in front of Gambians and arrogantly questioned their patriotism and reason for challenging Jammeh’s brutal government. Mr. Sabally tried to hide behind inexperience in “handling such a huge responsibility”.
Sabally served as a Budget Director at the ministry of Finance prior to being appointed as Secretary General. He was an Economist for ten (10) years at the Central Bank and was openly uncomfortable for seeing illegal accounts opened by the President’s office. Sabally is not a stupid man, far from it! He knew exactly what he was getting into and yet he willfully signed off and courageously defended the President’s illegal transactions. How was a Secretary General of the Office of the President become the Accountant and Finance Manager of the Office of the President? Became a signatory to numerous illegal accounts that were openly designed to defraud the tax payers’ money into enriching the President and his clan of unpatriotic citizens. Mr. Sabally and those before him did not have the courage and moral fiber to apologize to the Gambian people before the commission for violating their oath of office, but he had the audacity to tell Gambians that he wasn’t brave enough to question the President on anything. Clearly, Sabally and all those former Secretary Generals and Secretary to the Cabinet etc, violated the law and professional conduct governing their mode of operations and professional training. They must be held to account and a strong example must be set to these citizens from not only violating the law but ever holding higher office again in the Gambia. If you knew your actions were unethical, unpatriotic, and violates the law and no one held a gun at your neck you must pay for your failures. No one forced anybody to take a position at any time, they took the jobs willfully and enjoyed every moment of it.
What the commission of inquiry is bringing out so far is exactly what Gambian citizens have been fighting for two decades. That Jammeh was aided at every level by citizens who ought to know better in destroying our country. History will hold this government accountable if these citizens are not held to account for their blatant actions to help destroy the country by robbing the nation of it’s meager resources. At the very least, Sabally and others must pay for every illegal signature, bank transfer and or violation of their oath of office.
As one of the commission members mentioned, this commission is not a joke and it is costing tax payers hundreds of thousands of Dalasis in finding the truth. Gambians are not interested in the drama we witnessed when Yahya Jammeh took over power in 1994. Those Algali commissions were only designed to justify the junta’s illegal actions to overthrow an elected government. The Barrow Government is put to notice that conscious Gambians will not sit idle and watch citizens who were entrusted with the soul of the nation display their deliberate failures and violations of their duties and walk around free in Gambia. Gambians must be warned including the Director of GRTS that Momodou Sabally and anybody who openly confessed to knowingly violating the laws of the Gambia must not be rewarded with lucrative contracts only to continue to mock the nation. Certainly, such people cannot be the moral inspiration of our youths, neither can any Gambian excuse such failure at the highest immoral behavior in running a public office. Gambians have a duty to continue to monitor the commission and identify all those who aided the president into running down the government. Justice and accountability must be delivered for our country to move forward.
By Demba Baldeh Associate editor
Source : GAINAKO