Barrow challenged to go to court over €2.5M bribery allegation

Apr 13, 2023, 11:26 AM | Article By: Arfang M.S. Camara

Sulayman Ben Suwareh, an author and a critic of Barrow’s government, has challenged the president to go to court over allegations that he was involved in corruption by receiving 2.5 million Euros kickback in a deal of buses commissioned yesterday.

Mr Suwareh, who was speaking in an interview on West Coast Radio over his bribery allegation against the Gambian leader, said he was happy President Barrow would take the matter to court.

Meanwhile, the response from Mr Suwareh came after government’s Spokesperson Ebrima G. Sankareh on Tuesday said on the Coffee Time radio programme with Peter Gomez that “government is working on taking legal actions” against the authors who alleged that the president was involved in corruption and bribery. 

“This will give Gambians an opportunity to put him on trial since the National Assembly Members who are supposed to hold him accountable together with other institutions are failing to do so,” Mr Suwareh said. “This will be a perfect opportunity to prove my allegation and also make Barrow be held to account.”

Asked whether he had conducted a thorough research on the president before making the allegation, he said he was not going to reveal his legal strategy since the case was going to proceed to court.

“I want to remind Gambians that these allegations are grounded,” he insisted, saying: “My allegation mirrored all the National Audit Office reports as well as Malagen revelation. The only thing absent from the national audit report is that the president has benefited from the powers he has abused to make the Gambia government get into contracts that are not favourable and are detrimental to the economy of the country.”

According to Mr Suwareh, he doesn’t have anything personal against President Barrow or any of his cabinet members, adding that he had been consistent in anything he had said since the First Republic to date and would always be vindicated.

“I’ll not come out and make such allegations against the president without having the proof or ways to prove them, especially mentioning an exact amount. This amount is what was put out there,” he argued

Mr Ben-Suwareh added that the way the president reacted by sending his spokesperson to react to the issue “shows that they are rattled”, saying: “This is an allegation coming from a citizen not from a political party or an institution.”

He said further that if the president didn’t take the matter to court, then it would mean that the president was guilty of the allegations, evidence of which, he added, he would not give clues at the moment.

“If they are confident that they have not done anything wrong, let them take the matter to court and if the president fails to take it to court, then he is guilty of the allegations against him,” Suwareh contended.

“I just wish that he would use part of that money he has put away to take me to court. Because he is going to lose the case and I don’t want the state to spend that much money to take me to court and lose its case.”

He called on Gambians to wake up and hold President Barrow to account, adding that the reason “the president is acting this way is because he is being cornered”.

“Until we have the audacity to stand up,” Suwareh reasoned, “there are so many instances that people know and should come out to hold him to account for because the country is not sustainable anymore.”