By Aja Dahaba
Gambia participate is a non-profit making organization aimed to enhance citizen engagement in governance and promote good public administration.
The organization launched a video documentary on corruption at Paradise Suits Hotel in Senegambia, under the theme giving voice to victims of grand corruption.
The video documentary give opportunity to victims to narrate their ordeals during the former regime and how the current government has also neglected them.
They’ve also lamented that their rights were violated to the extent some were killed, others tortured and in some cases others disappeared and the current government has still not given them justice they were yearning for the past 22 years of dictatorship.
This was follow by a panel discussion –The role of Government and CSOs in Averting Grand Corruption in Public Sector, Opportunities and Challenges.
Among the discussants was Hon Madi M.K Ceesay National Assembly Member for Serekunda West who dilated on the role of parliamentarians in averting corruption. Ceesay said corruption is any unlawful earnings either through which one gets that from a public sector, an individual persons , a project or from a parastatal, such earnings tantamount to corruption.
On some corrupt practices is cited in the Government is the unretired imp rest, he said currently over 30 million dalasi is unretired and subsidiary laws that are unlawful; makes it possible for official to hold imp rest for more than 12 months and allow the opening of private government accounts in commercial banks.
On the role of parliamentarians, Hon Ceesay asserted that chapter Seven (7) of the 1997 Constitution specifically deals with the National Assembly. The role, functions, powers and procedure of, and in, the National Assembly. He added through the Constitution, and others laws, National Assembly Members (NAMs) are required to perform various responsibilities in the National Assembly and outside, which can be briefly classified as follows: Law making function (legislative), Oversight function (scrutiny), and Representation function.
Buttressing on the way forward the Law maker emphasised that budget formulation should involve all, prior to the budget being presented to the National Assembly , there should be wider public consultations – this way public can help in scrutiny . There should be a legal department at the National Assembly, he noted.
He cited that there should be Legislative laws that will curb corruption, and one such law in the pipeline is the anti-corruption law and anti-corruption Commission.
Also among the discussant was Dr Ismaila Ceesay said corruption is not only in the Gambia but in the whole world at large. He said as citizens we need to fugue out how much money is the government losing every year, why it is happening and the need to ensure how it can be fight.
He noted that as citizens one of the major problem is lack of ethics in the society, adding CSOs should do lot of civic education in sensitizing the public on how to fight against corruption.
Other panellist include Mr. Marr Nyang Executive Director of Gambia Participate and Shriff Kijera from Victim Centre all underscored on the needs to fight corruption.
By Aja Dahaba