By Binta Jaiteh
Two concern citizens, Muhammad L Darboe and Tijan Bah have urged the National Assembly Select Committee on Pubic Petition to compel the Gambia Ports Authority to file the report of the investigation made over the corruption scandal that hit the authorities between the years 2020 to 2021.
Speaking on the issue, Tijan Bah told the select petition committee that the main purpose of this petition is for the public to know the outcome of the investigation they (GPA) made about the corruption issue. He added that they have realized that the GPA sent some panel to investigate the matter within them, and on the 16th of March 2022, investigation report was submitted to the GPA management, yet the report is not open to the public.
He added that it was said by the PRO, Yankuba Manneh, that the police also mounted an investigation, which during process of the investigation the National audit office went there yet they cannot see the reports of the police and the set panel by them.
Tijan Bah also said they stand as citizens of this country to petition the Gambian Ports Authority allege corruption scandal that happened earlier in their office. He noted that it was discovered that several staff of the GPA were involved in massive theft and fraud, which led to the disappearance of millions of Dalasi between 2020 and 2022, it was revealed that staff from the GPA were acquiring illegally or through corruption scandals more than D4 million per week.
As concern citizens “we deem it necessary to bring this to your notice and then administer it as an independent body that has equal powers when it comes to issues like this as that of High Court, we decided to file in this petition. As far as we are concern at our individual level we did not make any effort to get that report from the GPA however we have seen an online media requesting for that particular report from the GPA relies on their right as access to information pursuance to section (11) act 2021.
“But we do not receive any report or information regarding the report from the Authorities of the Gambia Ports Authority on that basis we felt that even if we write to them they won’t reply,” he said.
Furthermore, on March 24, the spokesperson of the GPA was spotted by the Standard Newspaper acknowledging the fact that there was indeed corruption, according to the spokesperson he said the preliminary findings revealed demurrage charges were being under stated and received outside the system. According to the report there was no indication that receipt were duplicated but rather under statement demurrage charges which accounted for the demurrage revenue leakage.
He noted that, it is also worth to say that the average revenue collection at the rating unit annual basis is around D70 million and it may have been accounted for between 2020 and 2021. Therefore we remain optimistic that the exact could be ascertained on the completion of further investigation.
Tijan said, from this quotation it is clear that an authority from the GPA is acknowledging the fact that there is indeed corruption, “relying on the petition filed before you we didn’t say this is what happened exactly but we want you to compel them on their investigation they made at their own level and the fact that they acknowledge that investigation should be revealed as far as transparency is concern. We have no evidence indicating what has happened but we rely on what they published and in fact between 2020 and 2022 D20 million was missing.”