US government nudges Barrow to fight against corruption
By Sainey Darboe:
President Adama Barrow has been urged by the U.S government to strengthen efforts in ensuring accountability for acts of corruption perpetrated by former president, Yahya Jammeh and his cronies.
Reiterating its support in a press release, the US embassy declared:
“The United States government fully supports the Government of The Republic of The Gambia’s investigation into the corruption of former President Yahya Jammeh, and Gambian efforts to recover the ill-gotten gains of Jammeh and his associates. We commend the efforts of the Commission of Inquiry into the Financial Activities of Public Bodies, Enterprises and Offices, and those of the Ministry of Justice and Office of the Attorney General of The Gambia for their work in uncovering and documenting the kleptocratic actions and mechanisms of the former president and his associates.
We echo President Barrow’s position that “never again” must be the focus of Gambian effort, not only in regards to the abuse of power that led to systematic, state-sanctioned gross violations of human rights, but also in the pervasive corruption that robbed the people of The Gambia and depleted the resources of this country to the benefit of only a very few”.
The press release further called on the government to forge closer collaboration with relevant bodies in order to achieve outcomes of accountability for perpetrators in the past,present and the future.
“We encourage the government to work closely and expeditiously with the National Assembly to analyze this extensive corruption, and develop strong legislation, strong regulations, and strong rule of law-based investigative and prosecutorial mechanisms to address persons who abuse their positions of public trust to greedily benefit themselves – not only in the past, but also in the present and the future.
Though it will be a long and involved process, the government of the United States is committed to working with the Government of The Gambia to pursue all available legal means to recover the ill-gotten gains of Yahya Jammeh and his associates identified by the Commission of Inquiry. We encourage other governments and international organizations to render all possible assistance to the Government of The Gambia in this regard,”concluded the press release.
The statement of support from the U.S government is a considerable morale boost for the Justice Department whose job it is to ensure accountability for acts of corruption and abuse of office under quondam president Jammeh.
However, the call on Barrow to implement the findings and recommendations of Janneh Commission by no less than the most powerful country in the world, United States, places Barrow on an impossible straddle.
Barrow has in his cabinet and among his backers people who are subjects of adverse findings by the Janneh Commission, which pretty much ensures that adhering to the call of the US government will generate a bloodbath and potential hemorrhage of support.
President Barrow has been locked in internecine political battle with his former party, opposition United Democratic Party as he mulls a sojourn at State House beyond the three-year coalition agreement and potentially another term after his constitutionally mandated five-year term. To boost his chances of avoiding an electoral disaster in 2021 presidential polls, Barrow has to dip his hands into the APRC political till which makes a spirited fight against Jammeh and his cronies a cumbersome task with potentially devastating electoral consequences.
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