Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Foroyaa Gives Balanced Perspectives

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Foroyaa has been giving coverage to divergent views and dissenting opinions. Section 208 of the Constitution states:

“All State-owned newspapers, journals, radio and television shall afford fair opportunities and facilities for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions.”

No one would doubt that Foroyaa has been playing that role.

Yunus Hydara is a known UDP member. Foroyaa is not hesitating to publish his opinion against Halifa Sallah and Sidia Jatta for comment by them against the will of many PDOIS supporters who claim that derogatory remarks against their leaders should not be published.

We hope that through the publication of divergent views, truth will emerge and tolerance will follow.

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The reader may now follow the debate between Yunus and Halifa Sallah

YUNUS HYDARA INDICTS AND HALIFA SALLAH REFUTES

THIS WHAT YUNUS HYDARA STATES:

“Two parliamentary committees that are thus far the biggest enablers of corruption in the country are Finance and Public accounts committee (FPAC) and Public Enterprise Committee (PEC).

FPAC has a mandate of providing an oversight function on government and all financial aspect of public institutions. They are currently sitting on the anti-corruption bill and deliberately ignoring their duty to examine, fine-tune (if required) and advise the parliament accordingly for the bill to pass. The 16 weeks limit to do this has elapsed long long time ago!

Committee members as follows:

1. Speaker Denton as Chairperson

2. Hon Sidia Jatta of PDOIS as Vice chair

3. Hon Kebba K Barrow, Majority Leader UDP

4. Hon Samba Jallow, Minority Leader NRP

5. Hon Yakumba Jaiteh UDP

6. Hon Touma Njie PPP

7. Hon Alhagie Mbow NRP

8. Hon Alhagie Drammeh UDP

9. Hon Alhagie Sankung Jammeh APRC

“Similarly, Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) is also a very important committee of the National Assembly. Amid the many reports of adverse findings against public institutions either by the Auditor General or external auditors including the British audit firm on seven State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), this committee has never, not even once, ever laid any report before the plenary since assuming office, thus failing the entire membership of the National Assembly fail in their delivery of justice and accountability. This include the recent audited report that verified potential corrupt practices to the tune of D32 million from public institutions.

It’s membership comprises:

1. Hon Halifa Sallah, PDOIS as the Chairperson

2. Hon Saikou Marong, Independent

3. Hon Momodou Camara, APRC

4. Hon Alhagie Jawara, Independent

5. Hon Salifu Jawo, Independent

6. And two other members

I call on all conscientious citizens especially our journalists, in the interest of the country and its destitute population, to hold these individuals accountable for their lethargic, selfish and incompetent nature. They must do the job they’re paid and elected to do!!”

After this publication a video recording in Mandinka was circulated and the content indicated among other the following:

“Halifa and Sidia Jatta, both of them are the chairpersons of PAC/PEC. Sedia Jatta is the chairperson of the Public Account Committee. Halifa Sallah is the chairperson of the Public Enterprise Committee. Last Wednesday I was watching the news, the police expressed their dissatisfaction that they are appalled that up till today, the deputies are holding on to the reports given to them and the recommendations made that they should take but the deputies are not doing anything about these reports.

“Just for Gambians to realize that the deputies that are in charge of the aforesaid committees are Halifa Sallah and Sidia Jatta. The two who are leading the two committees are supposed to take the reports and look at them at the committee levels and then present them before the plenary.

“But up till today, Sidia and Halifa and their committees’ members are holding the reports. They did not present them before the plenary so that deputies would deliberate on the reports.

“This is something everybody should call their deputies and inform them that they are holding reports that Gambians want to know about. Before bringing laws related to bleaching, Gambians don’t need that.”

HALIFA’S REBUTTAL:

The Hydara surname in the Gambia is associated with decency and moral integrity and Yunus will escape his own derogatory remarks for two reasons. First and foremost, I respect those who gave birth to him so much that I would not want to use any derogatory remarks against him.

Secondly, I am now a Presidential Candidate vying to lead every Gambian regardless of whether he or she hates me or not.  If I were to take Yunus to the police station for accusing me of being lethargic, selfish and incompetent and biggest enabler without any aorta of proof the people would start wondering that I would not imprison them if I had the Presidential powers in my hands.

I have said it over and over again that under a PDOIS administration the might of the pen of fabrication will be combatted with the might of the pen of clarity.

It is a fundamental principle of jurisprudence that he who asserts must prove beyond doubt. Has Yunus offered any proof that I have conducted myself in any way that could be described as lethargic, selfish and incompetent and deserves to be stigmatized as the biggest enabler of corruption.

According to him, his proof is that the Public Enterprises Committee which I head is sitting on reports of many adverse findings against public institutions either by the Auditor General or external auditors including the British audit firm on seven State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), thus making the National Assembly members fail in their delivery of justice and accountability. He made mention of a recent audited report “that verified potential corrupt practices to the tune of D32 million from public institutions.”

First and foremost, Yunus has displayed a penchant for fabricating evidence that does not exist and piece them together to present fiction as facts.

The first fiction is to claim that we are sitting on the report of a British Audit Firm that verified potential corrupt practice to the tune of 32 Million dalasis. Our Committee is not in charge and does not have to be in charge of such a report to ensure accountability and justice.

The British firm did what is called special audit. Subsection (8) of Section 160 reads:

“Nothing in this Constitution shall preclude the Auditor-General, at the request of the head or governing body of any public body, corporation or institution referred to in subsection (1)(c), or on his or her own initiative, from carrying out any special audit of such body, corporation or institution; and where he or she carries out such a special audit, it shall be reported to the Finance and Public Accounts Committee.”

Furthermore, he claims that we are sitting on reports of the auditor general and external auditors thus undermining accountability and justice. This is utter fabrication.

The National Assembly cannot sit on audit reports to obstruct accountability and justice. To make such allegation confirms that Yunus does not have elementary knowledge of the Public Finance system in the country.

Section 160 explains the Functions of Auditor-General.

Subsection (1)(e) reads: “The Auditor-General shall after his or her annual reports on the accounts of the Government of The Gambia, of all offices and authorities of the Government, of the courts and of the National Assembly have been discussed in the National Assembly, cause the same to be published for public information:

Provided that where there is any undue delay in the discussion of any such accounts in the National Assembly, the Auditor-General may publish his or her report in advance of such discussion; and

(f)   exercise such other functions as may be conferred on him or her by an Act of the National Assembly.”

The question now arises: What other functions are given to the Auditor-General to ensure accountability and justice?

Section 160 Subsection (2) reads:

“In the exercise of his or her functions under this Constitution or any other law, the Auditor General shall-

(a)  at all times carry out economy, efficiency and effective examinations to satisfy himself or herself that public funds are spent in such manner as to reduce waste, eliminate inefficiency and maximise the benefits to be gained from the use of resources;

(b)  have power to disallow any item of expenditure which is contrary to law and to surcharge:

(i)   the amount of any expenditure so disallowed upon the person responsible for incurring or authorising the expenditure; or

(ii)  any sum which has not been brought into account upon the person by whom that sum ought to have been brought into account; or

(iii) the amount of any loss or deficiency upon any person by whose negligence or misconduct the loss or deficiency has been incurred.”

Yunus should study the Constitution and relevant laws on public finance before making allegations. The National Assembly has no power to delay or obstruct accountability or justice in Public Finance. The bread and the knife are all in the hands of the Auditor-General. Executive obstruction could be feared depending on the type of government. National Assembly obstruction is an impossibility.

Since tails always follow their heads those who spoke in Mandinka even strayed further from the truth by making Sidia Jatta the Chairperson of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee. They similarly alleged that the Committees are sitting on reports on corruption without any foundation. People should ignore these party motivated comments which is increasing as their leaders become more desperate.

Yunus and Co should talk to the Auditor General on the ground breaking efforts of the Committee which is visible in the media. The State broadcaster is invited to every proceeding to ensure transparency. Just as the TRRC, the proceedings should have been broadcast live. Instead of advocating Yunus prefers to discredit for political gain. Clean hearted, decent and confident leaders with clean hearted and decent followers are what Gambians need for peace and development. Those who cannot provide such leadership and followers are not fit to govern.

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