By: Nyima Sillah
National Assembly member for Serrekunda West Constituency, Hon Madi Ceesay has expressed that the anti-corruption bill has suffered in parliament in the recent session.
Speaking to this reporter, the Hon member said “The FPAC has done their job very well but unfortunately this time around when it comes to the parliament it suffers a lot. This is the only bill that I have seen during my 7 or 6 years as a parliamentarian that came more than three times and could not be completed.”
He stressed that the most talked about bill which is the anti-corruption bill of 2019 did not successfully pass through the parliament in this session. He said it is regrettable because it is a bill that Gambians are looking forward to for parliament to do its job and since 2019 this has been in the parliament.
He explained that the bill is divided into ten parts and they were able to go just a little or almost at the tail end of part 2, noting they have whole eight parts left without being treated simply because “anti-corruption bill is always placed at the last part of the agenda and the parliament was not seated beyond 5:00 pm due to Ramadan.”
“Anytime we start around 3-4 pm to deal with it for only one hour or less it gets suspended. The first suspension he said was when it came and there were two versions the 2019 and the 2020 version as a result, that technicality had warranted the speaker to suspend the seating and followed two other suspensions.”
Hon Ceesay pointed out that technically at the end of the whole committee, there should be three clear before it goes to the third reading to finish the cycle of it becoming an act.
“This is what happened during the last sitting. I can say it is very unfortunate and disappointing because many Gambians are really looking forward to parliament working on this and finishing it.”
The anti-corruption bill, he said is a very good bill as it will help to mitigate the type of corruption existing in the country, adding that having it in place would not 100% stop corruption but there would be avenues where people can be taken to court.
Meanwhile, he added, the anti-corruption bill is going to create an independent body that would be empowered and as part 6 of the bill, causes 43 to 58 gives the power to investigate, examine persons, and special investigation techniques.
“These are all provisions that can go far to avert or prevent corruption and then part 7 looks into investigations related to financial dealings and properties investigations of share account chairperson power to obtain information about the seizure of movable property in the banks. These are all beautiful Provisions that would help a lot.
Expressing his dissatisfaction he said “I don’t know why parliament is a disgrace that parliament couldn’t speed this up but hopefully when parliament seats in the next session which is June the anti-corruption bill will come into reality.
“Many countries have the anti-corruption bill in place as the only instrument that would fight corruption and corruption in this country is too much,” he reasoned.