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Statement on Alleged Fraudulent Provisions in the Constitution Issued on behalf of GMC by Mai Ahmed Fatty, chief servant of GMC

Jul 19, 2012, 1:22 PM

The 1997 Constitution of The Gambia is alledged to contain some invented provisions that were inserted into it surreptitiously over a period and reprinted as if they constituted part of the original version.

The impugned provisions were not lawful amendments made through legitimate legislative processes in the National Assembly.

Shockingly, neither the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly nor that of the Speaker has as of date a compendium of amendments to the Constitution or amendments to other Acts of Parliament.

Many NAMs contacted do not have complete amendments as well.

GMC is working to get to the bottom of this grave allegation using the original Document from official custody.

In the process of investigating into this matter, so far, it has been impossible to lay hands on the original 1997 Constitution from sources of official custody, either at the National Assembly, the Ministry of Justice, or other government establishments that should normally be in possession of the original 1997 Supreme Law.

It is alleged that the original versions were all wiped out at the Government Printer and also out of circulation, replaced by “Reprinted” editions containing the ‘fraudulent provisions’ which have been in circulation for use by the legal profession and the general public. 

Notwithstanding, private sources are accessible.

The various versions of the Constitution available and put into circulation by the Government, are identified by the different colours of their covers, with some containing conflicting numbering of sections of provisions.

The APRC regime must clear the air or be deemed complicit in a treasonable act.

Further to on-going initiatives, I wrote to the Minister of Justice & the Attorney-General of the Republic and also to the Speaker of the National Assembly to share, to express concern and for clarification.

I hope the Justice Minister & Attorney-General will summon the courage to investigate into this matter diligently, issue a public statement and introduce standard verification measures by which the authenticity of the Constitution and amendments made thereto shall be acknowledged. Although we can abundantly prove transmission of correspondence to the Minister, by this Public Release, the Minister and the APRC regime are being put on notice.

I also urge the Speaker of the National Assembly together with the Majority Leader on behalf of the Legislature and Gambian citizens, to take up this issue with patriotic fervour by instituting urgent public Parliamentary Sub-Committee Inquiry on this matter, and making findings public.

I call on The Gambia Bar Association to exhaustively investigate into the veracity of this allegation, ensuring that corrupted provisions (if at all) allegedly inserted into the Constitution illegally are expunged. 

To enabled accountable governance, laws and policies must be ascertainable and simplified based on authentic sources. This proposal is relevant in the context of our draft legislation on Freedom of Information Act.

On the contrary, the APRC regime is fiercely opposed to enacting a Freedom of Information Act, a position grossly inconsistent with its original call for transparency, probity and accountability made eighteen years ago. 

This regime cannot be taken seriously on any issue of national importance.

It is time to overhaul the system under a new leadership offered by GMC.