By Mustapha Jallow
Members of Gambia Participates in partnership with Transparency International, lawmakers and government officials are currently reviewing the 2019 Anti-Corruption (AC) Bill which aims to promote accountability and transparency in government.
Over the years, the advocacy group was consistently working and advocating for the Anti-Corruption Bill to be passed by Lawmakers, and to establish legislation that will control corruption in the public sector and other institutions. It is also part of the group’s strategic priority to ensure that accountability; transparency and justice are valued and respected by the Government.
The exercise aims at enhancing Members’ understanding of the Bill for them to be able to analyze its provisions and ensure its legislation. The day long consultative session held at a local hotel in Kololi on July 23rd 2023, is being funded by the European Union. The Gambia was listed as 102nd least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, according to the 2021 Corruption Perception Index reported by Transparency International, and the current government is not doing enough to punish public officials and other government workers found wanting.
Marr Nyang, Executive Director of Gambia Participates said the session was requested by members of parliament to enable them look thoroughly into the Anti-Corruption Bill. He said the Bill has already made significant progress at the National Assembly. The objective of the exercise, he added, was to look at the Bill and clarify certain things that were not clear to lawmakers. He expressed joy after seeing representatives from the ministry of justice, whom he said were there to support the process. And in case they have any doubt about the Bill, he asked NAMs to raise questions for the purpose of clarity.
“There is no other bill that is more important than this Anti-Corruption Bill. The Bill would be promoting our values and culture and not the contrary, because I think it is against our culture to nurture favoritism. It is also against our culture for public officials to misuse our funds. If it is legislated, it would help strength our values, norms and culture as well. The Bill will also address or minimize poor service and misuse of public wealth without much accountability,’’ Nyang remarked.
While representing the house-speaker, Billay Tunkara, the Majority leader in parliament said the review process will foster common understanding between stakeholders and lawmakers.
“This will create a smooth platform for members of parliament to deal with the Bill accordingly. If you could recall, this is part of the legal reform agenda of the government. And also, the Anti-corruption bill seems to bring in confidence in our governance system, so that taxpayers will come to understand that there are rules and regulations that deal with public funds, and where no offender will go unpunished,’’ Hon. Tunkara said.