Commission of Inquiry to sit for extra 6 months

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, which was originally planned for three months, has now been extended by six months, Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said.

The three months original mandate of the Commission, which started sitting on 10 August 2017, is to end on 10 November, this year.  But the Establishment Order gives the power to the Commission to continue beyond the three-month period, “if it is necessary to do so”.

“The Commission now deems it necessary to extend its mandate to an additional six months from the date of expiry of the first three months,” the minister said at a press conference at his office in Banjul yesterday.

The extension of the mandate, he said, is due to the emergence of new evidences, which made it mandatory to call for more witnesses to testify before the Commission, coupled with the nature and complexity of the evidence adduced by witnesses before the Commission also necessitated the procurement of the services of forensic accountants and auditors which will take time.

The extension is also due to the numerous public enterprises, bodies and offices that are the subject of the inquiry, and are yet to be heard; and the nature, time and complexity of the investigations, covering a period of over 22 years from 22 July 1994 to 21 January 2017.

With the extension of the mandate, the Commission of Inquiry will now continue until May 2018.

Minister Tambadou said based on the extension, the Justice Ministry sought and obtained from the National Assembly, approval for the increment of remuneration to an additional amount of D500,000 for each of the three commissioners.

Also known as the Janneh Commission, which is named after the chairperson of the Commission – the Commission of Inquiry is established by President Adama Barrow to look into the financial activities of public enterprises, bodies and offices as regards their dealings with the former President Yahya Jammeh and his associates.

Constitutional review

Besides, the minister said, the Ministry of Justice is now drafting a bill on the establishment of a Constitutional Review Commission, in consultation with the office of the Chief Justice.

“The bill shall be presented before the National Assembly at the earliest opportunity,” Tambadou said, adding that the proposed new constitution of The Gambia shall be one that will reflect faithfully and accurately the views of the generality of Gambians, both at home and abroad.

NIA 9 case

The Justice Minister said the case of the nine former state intelligence officers would resume on Monday, 16 October 2017.

“I have been informed by the Prosecutor, Mr Antouman Gaye, that he intends to file a motion to amend the indictment in order to increase the number of Counts to 26 from the initial number of 12 Counts,” he said.

TRC

The minister said they are now in the final review stage of the draft Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) bill.

“We have spent a considerable amount of time on the bill working with experts in the area of transitional justice and truth commissions, in particular,” he said.

The draft bill has been reviewed by the United Nations’ consultant on transitional justice, International Center for Transitional Justice, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Africa Group for Accountability and Justice, and the United Nations.

In addition, Tambadou said, based on the nationwide consultations and interactions with experts in the area of truth commissions around the world, some of the key features of the Gambia TRRC would include all members of the Commission, who shall be Gambian nationals of the highest standards of integrity; all regions in the country shall be represented in the Commission; the Commission shall reflect the national character of The Gambia and shall be as representative of the different communities as possible, including women, religious and youth groups; and the Commission shall be established for an initial period of two years.

 

Author: Lamin Jahateh
Source: Picture: Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou