Editorial: Malicious Gimmicks and Selective Justice: Janneh Commission’s Dramatic Exposé
After several extensions of their mandate and the dilly dallying of the Barrow Government on their report, the Janneh Commission is set to confuse the nation tomorrow as government plans drama similar to an Oscar winning TV sitcom.
At the 11th hour of the legal time limit for the publication of the Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Financial Activities of the Former President and his Close Associates, the Barrow administration will unveil it’s white paper and publish the full report of the Commision tomorrow. Set for unveiling at the Justice Ministry, the Barrow State House has made sure that their chief spinner, Ebrima Sankareh is well placed in the panel that would present this report to the public.
A few questions are in order regarding this matter of crucial importance:
Is the timing of the publication which was billed for the end of this month not suspect? Is this a trick to help them submerge the current slanderous waves hitting the Barrow government regarding the diplomatic passports saga and the inflated budgets coming from Barrow’s kitchen?
From leaks, GunjurOnline is privy to, certain big names that had close financial relations with Yahya Jammeh, but are now close to President Barrow, have been exonerated and handed a clean bill by the embattled Janneh Commission. Prominent among these big names is Barrow’s current Finance Minister, Mambury Njie, who served several years at top echelons of the Jammeh administration including Secretary General, Finance Minister and CEO of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation.
Another big name omitted from the list of officials who were served with notices of adverse mention is real estate baron Mustapha Njie (AKA, Taf). The man who enjoyed free land from Jammeh that was confiscated from poor suburban communities and handed over to him without compensation to the victims, was also a major beneficiary of tax concessions under Jammeh that were regarded as suspect by many observers at the time.
The other big name omitted from the list of officials indicted is the commission's very own lead Counsel Amie Bensouda who was adversely mentioned by witnesses on several occasions during the sittings of the commission. She allegedly facilitated dubious deals by the Jammeh administration both in her capacity as private lawyer and also as official lawyer of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, (SSHFC).
When witnesses like former SSHFC Managing Director, Edward Graham started mentioning Amie Bensouda’s name, she initially dug in saying that she would stay on and do her job. But later on she had to recused herself when certain matters that had her own fingerprints all over them surfaced. This included transactions relating to institutions like Ocean Bay Hotel.
But the last straw that broke the camel’s back and did an indelible blow to the credibility of the Janneh Commision was the official petition addressed to the Office of the President by the Commission's Secretary at the time, Alhagie Mamadi Kurang. The petition cited prejudice and bias in the work of the Commision especially what he called “selective questioning of witnesses” by the Commision’s lead counsel, Amie Bensouda.
Instead of investigating these serious allegations that cast a shadow over a critical principle of justice - BIAS - over the Janneh Commission, the petitioner got a reprimand from the man in charge of business at the office of the President at that time, Secretary General Habib Drammeh who is also the biological brother of lead counsel Amie Bensouda.
Remember our story on the Bensudas? Read it here:
Subsequent attacks against the petitioner came from the Justice Minister Ba Tambedou. The Commission's Secretary was subsequently booted out, sent packing for merely raising a genuine concern that is sure to haunt the Janneh Commision and their findings when courts resume in October to deal with the numerous appeals filed against their adverse findings addressed to former officials of the Jammeh administration.
As the country prepares to deal with the drama carefully planned for staging with the verbose government propaganda expert Ebrima Sankareh in the thick of things. Many eyes will be rolled.
We hope that due process, and the principle of innocence before being proven guilty, in the right courts of competent jurisdiction, reign supreme. Salam Gambia!