By Awa B. Bah
Deputies at the National Assembly on Wednesday June 19th 2019, considered and approved a motion on additional remuneration of two hundred thousand dalasi for each of the Commissioners at ‘Janneh’.
This is the fourth time a motion on additional remuneration of Commissioners under the Janneh Commission has been brought before Deputies for consideration and approval by the Justice Minister. The first motion that was brought before deputies was for a three month extension period with a salary of D300,000 for each Commission member; then another additional extension was made for a six month period with a salary of D500,000 and the last but not the least addition was for an extension period of three months with a salary of D300,000 for each member.
It could be recalled that President Adama Barrow established the ‘Janneh’ Commission of Enquiry on 12 July 2017, pursuant to Section 200 of the 1997 Constitution and Section 2 of the Commission of Enquiry Act. The President appointed Suharata Janneh as member and Chairperson of the Commission, together with Bai Mass Saine and Abiosseh George as members.
In his explanation on the reasons behind this decision, the Minister in his motion to convince NAMs to consider and approve the remuneration of D200, 000 for each Commissioner, said paragraph 8 of the establishment order of 12 July 2017, provided for the Commission to complete its enquiry within a period of three months of its first sitting; that it also gives the Commission the power to continue beyond that period if in their position, it is necessary to do so.
The Commission he said, had extended its temporal mandate on three previous occasions in February, May and August 2018 respectively; that the Commission’s last extension was in August 2018 based on its belief that it could conclude its report writing by 10 January 2019. This he said, proved to be unrealistic and the Commission was compelled to extend its mandate for two extra months when it submitted its report to the president. He said the Commission requests for remuneration for work done for the period February and March 2019 as conveyed.
Members at this juncture took turns to comment on the motion laid by the Minister. Members indicated that Commissioners need to be paid but due process of their mandate must be followed; that they have already done their job but were now asking for their payment without their involvement from the initial stage. They reminded the Minister that it was the fourth time he was appearing before them regarding the same request; that the last time he promised not to appear before them with such demands from the Commission
The Minister in his reaction to the comments by Members concurred but said he cannot be failing in his official responsibility as a public official. He urged Members to consider and approve the request as the job has been done by Commissioners.
The motion was eventually considered and approved by Members.