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Early one Sunday morning, British politician Heidi Allen answered her front door to be confronted by a man who had been harassing her.
The findings and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry on the public land grants by the State and District Authorities (general) were accepted by the government that the “leases issued to former President Jammeh be cancelled and/or rescinded.
This was revealed in a government White Paper, an excerpt of the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the financial activities of public bodies, enterprises and offices as regards their dealings with former president, Yahya Jammeh and connected matters.
It was noted in the report that former President Jammeh was engaged in a land grab and he abused his authority as president to do so. He as well acquired several leased lands in the tourism development area (TDA), which are public lands leased to him by the State and local communities with the approval of the minister responsible for lands, without payment of any form of consideration.
Among these several other lands according to the Commission’s report including forests, lagoons, reserves and parks, islands and these are public lands leased to him by the State directly or by district authorities.
As per the recommendation it was noted that “it would be unconscionable and contrary to public policy if former President Jammeh were allowed to keep gifts of community lands needed for the livelihoods and development of entire communities.”
It continued that, since the government accepts these findings, in so far as they relate to lands allocated by local communities to former President Jammeh and accordingly that the government accepts the recommendations of the Commission that the said lands be confiscated by the State and properly planned to serve the most urgent public needs of local communities “the said land are (were) hereby confiscated.”
The PDOIS is asking former Vice President Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajnag to clarify whether there was an amendment in the original text of the Coalition agreement which was signed by its members; and if so, whether the amended version has been signed too.
Below is the letter addressed to Ms. Jallow Tambajang:
Dear Honourable Jallow Tambajang,
The media houses have been approaching PDOIS for explanation whether the text of an amendment to the 17th October 2016 Coalition agreement had been agreed upon and signed by coalition partners. We are not aware of the crafting and signing of any text purporting to be an amendment to the original text signed by Coalition partners and are therefore finding it difficult to give accurate information to the media, on the subject matter.
It should therefore be highly appreciated if you would clarify whether any document purporting to be an amended version of the coalition agreement has been signed. If such a document exists please forward it to us before Monday, 7 October 2019, when we intend to issue a Press Releasse on the matte
An excerpt of the 93-page report of the Commission of Inquiry that was established by President Adama Barrow in July 2019, to probe into the financial activities of public bodies, enterprises and offices as regards to their dealings with former Present Yahya Jammeh, the government of The Gambia therefore accepts the commission’s recommendation that two out of the three properties allocated to the former vice president of Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy should be forfeited to the State.
The report indicates that the said properties will be forfeited to the state as the government land policy dictates that every Gambian is entitled to only one free allocation.
The report also notes that the government takes note of the commission’s observation that Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy is unfit to serve in similar positions and as the longest serving member of former President Jammeh’s cabinet, and given her positions as V.P. of the republic, Dr. Njie-Saidy’s conduct fell far short of the standards expected of an occupier of the Office of the V.P. of the Republic of The Gambia.
“Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy is hereby banned from holding public office for five years from the date of publication of this White Paper,” the report went further.
The report also indicates that the government takes note of the Commission’s statement that Dr. Njie-Saidy claims to have acquired 22 properties in the greater Banjul area even though her monthly salary as V.P. between 1998 and 2017 was between D47,000 and D60,850 per month while three of her properties were allocated to her by the government.
“The commission found inter alia, that Dr. Njie-Saidy was the vice chairperson and co-signatory to the Operation Save the Children Foundation’s account and there was no evidence that this foundation was legally registered,” the report revealed.
In the commission’s estimation, from a total of D31,162,636.2 and $506,865.6 paid into its bank accounts, only D4,958,220 was spent on the objects of the foundation and the commission found that nearly all the funds of the foundation were wasted on events which were intended to boost the profile of Zineb Jammeh rather than help Gambian children.
“Dr. Njie Saidy and Zineb Jammeh authorised all payments sometimes jointly and the commission was of the view that Dr. Njie-Saidy ought to be accountable for what she authorised and misused in breach of trust,” it stated.
The report further narrated that the commission also found Dr. Njie-Saidy liable for unjustified payments in the sum of D11,725.90 and $3,847,80.
The commission found that the management of the JFP funds was bifurcated to mask its real purpose, allowing former President Jammeh control of the real funds while the board and management provided the legitimacy he needed.
Added to that, JFP was therefore a smokescreen/front used by former President Jammeh to raise funds for his personal benefit and Dr. Njie-Saidy as chairperson and member of the JFP board and signatory to the accounts was in breach of trust and therefore accountable for its funds.
We are totally against the decision championed by Fatoumata Jallow-Tambanjang to extend the coalition’s agreed term from 3 to 5 years, Said Hagie Suwaneh, vice chairperson of the operation at the press briefing.
He continued; “Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang individually tasked some members of the Barrow supported camp to join her on the issue of five years.
Mr. Suwaneh said it also came to their attention that some local parties have never supported the president’s five years mandate. “We will never recognize the announcement made by Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang and her co.”
“We are calling on Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang to withdraw her statement given on 27th day of September, 2019.”