By Adama Makasuba
Matarr Saine, Mobiliser General for Team Bakary has said that Bakary Badjie, Minister of Youths and Sports will officially return the £200 allowances paid his wife, Hawa Jobarteh for two weeks amid a public backlash.
“Bakary and his team have decided to return the per diem paid to his wife Hawa officially to the government on Monday because Bakary feels that Hawa didn’t go to England and the mission was for England delegates. This will be the third time Bakary will return the per diem paid to him on missions he had not gone to complete officially. Last year, he was paid a per diem for a 7-day trip but he had only spent four days and he returned the money to the government he has done the same this year, and this one will be the third time Bakary will prove the critics wrong,” he said.
However, Pa Samba Jow, a US-based Gambian expressed disappointment with the Youths and Sports Minister over the action and urged him to publicly apologise.
“To tell you the truth, if I am to say the truth, I am disappointed because Minister Bakary Badjie is one person that I like so much and he is somebody that I have a great amount of respect for. And I feel he made a great mistake. Definitely, it doesn’t make sense to say the commonwealth invited his wife and yes, the commonwealth can invite anyone but that doesn’t mean that the government should be responsible for her,” he said.
“In fact, checking the legality, it’s not legal for the government to pay the spouses per diem. And this should be a learning for us as a nation to look into this per diem issue. It looks like ‘Osusu’ when one government minister travels out of the country and comes back another minister will travel and this has been happening for quite a while now. All you have to do is go to Brussels airport, they are always traveling and anyone who travels gets paid a lot of money,” he added.
“People like Bakary Badjie who come into politics to change how the country’s politics has been operating by ending bad governance and corruption. So, if he is involved in such an act, to be frank, I am disappointed. But I hope Bakary will not allow this to define him to say yes this is what government officials have been doing. What he should do now is to publicly apologise and return the money that would be a sign of threat. My advice to Bakary is for him to learn from this mistake and rectify the mistake and move on because if he fails to do that this will be defined. This will define him for refusing to react,” he said.