By: Landing Ceesay
Fafa Edrisa M’Bai, the first Attorney General and Minister of Justice under the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC), likened former President Yahya Jammeh to the Egyptian Pharaoh.
He compared the former leaders while testifying before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), but he acknowledged Jammeh registered some developments.
“Certain developments were achieved under Jammeh especially in the health sector, communication sector, Agricultural sector and educational sector. The signing example of that is the establishment of the University of the Gambia (UTG), especially the law faculty, the school of medicine and life health scientist,”
“But Yahya Jammeh, just like Pharaoh, became enormously greedy, selfish, wicked and brutal against his own people,” Fafa M’Bai said.
The former Justice Minister M’Bai said the tax commission established by the Yahya Jammeh, asked him to pay one hundred and fifteen thousand, nine hundred and forty-four dalasi (D115, 944) on tax arrears. He said even when the GRA agreed and confirmed that he had over paid his taxes by D65, 000, while the proceedings of the tax commission were on, still the tax commission asked him to pay that amount.
“I filed an appeal against the findings of the tax commission at the Gambia Court of Appeal and the appeal court allowed my appeal against the adverse findings of the tax commission without the argument of the parties involved. Their judgment was not even based on the argument submitted in court because my lawyers were prepared to fight our appeal, then the Attorney General conceded my appeal without argument.”
“After that dramatic success of my appeal and the Attorney General himself conceding my argument that the tax commission were wrong in their findings. The GRA wrote a letter to me saying it an executive directive heading ‘final report of the task force committee independently re-new and re-asses tax payers who were originally brought before the tax commission.’ And asked me to pay one hundred and fifteen thousand nine hundred and forty-four dalasi (D115, 944) on tax arrears,” M’Bai stated.
M’Bai, said he complied with the GRA letter and paid the money, but after the judgement of the court of appeal, his lawyer wrote a letter to the GRA requesting for them to refund the money that he paid into their account; and GRA replied saying the money in question was not paid in their account.
Asked by the lead council of the Truth Commission whether under the laws of the Gambia the president can levy tax on people. M’bai responded in the negative.
“The president cannot levy tax on people because even the executive directive given to the GRA was illegal, for an executive order to be valid in the law must be derived from the statue. It must be a provision in the Constitution, as it is done in America and Nigeria. So, all the executive directives issued from the office of the president from 1994 to 2016 are bad in the law,” former Justice Minister answered.
Although he served the junta as its first Attorney General, he said any worst civilian government is better than the best military government.