Wednesday, February 1

Gov’t, lawmakers tasked to demonstrate political will on pending Anti-Corruption Bill

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According to the 2020 Gambia Corruption Performance Index (CPI) report, The Gambia is the 102 least corrupt nations out of 180 countries. This is a drop from the 96th position in 2019.

The 28 January, 2021 published report further states that out of the 49 African countries surveyed; only eight scored more than 43 out of 100 on the index. With The Gambia consistently scoring 37 points over the past three years, the country continues to be ranked among the most corrupt nations worldwide.

The Anti Corruption Bill was placed before lawmakers since early December, 2019. But it has been never passed.

Speaking to The Point exclusively, Mar Nyang, anti corruption activist, called on government to demonstrate political will in combating corruption through establishment of anti corruption institutions and frameworks.

“If the Barrow government wants to be successful in the implementation of the National Development Plan as well as gain public trust; therefore, there is a need for it to prioritise combating corruption,” the Gambia participate executive director said.

“The failed national budget, failed administration and personalisation of public office and wealth all come down to corruption,” he noted.

He said any government that does not prioritise fighting corruption would fail in its development endeavours.

Nyang said for government to combat corruption, it should reform public institutions, ensure revision for legislative frameworks, consider public sector integrity, ensure access to information and build the capacity of the organs of government on corruption detection.

Hassan Martin, a human rights lawyer, told The Point that the pending Anti Corruption Bill in Parliament must be passed to ensure an Anti-Corruption Commission is established.

“This Bill must come in. And people are watching. This Bill is not only for the Barrow government. It is also for future governments. We (Gambians) are after about standards so that we can have a better government.”

“Having a Bill that would create an anti corruption commission is very important,” he said.

He described anti- corruption commission as a good practice in governance to fight corruption continuously in the country. “If we are serious in our democracy we need to make sure that anti- corruption commission is in place,” he said.

Martin said anti-corruption commission would help to control the culture of corruption in the country.

Omar Jammeh, youth activist, said the anti- corruption bill is delayed because government seems not committed to combating corruption. “So, any bill to curb corruption may not be supported,” he added.

Haruna Jallow, a student at the University of The Gambia, described the delay of the anti corruption bill as sad and a setback to national development.

“Our government and political representatives need to do justice to the anti corruption bill by passing it. Because it was in the National Assembly since last year,” he said.

Musa Baldeh, Gambian youth called on all responsible authorities to do whatever humanly possible to pass the bill, saying  passing the bill is the only mechanism to combat corruption in the country.

“Why is it still held up after efforts and engagement to produce something to help curb corruption,” he queried.