All eyes are on Gambia’s Agriculture Ministry, where over twenty seven thousand bags of fertilizer were reportedly stolen from the government stores in Banjul and sold to a Senegalese businessman. The businessman, who goes with the name Modou Dibba, was arrested by Gambian security officials, following attempts to load more trucks of fertilizer from the store. The scandalous story first appeared on the Kerr Fatou online website and has since went viral. As to whether Agriculture Minister Omar Amadou Jallow and his staff, have been implicated in the alleged stolen fertilizer, we contacted the main man, whose Ministry, is about to issue a legal opinion on the matter, Justice Minister Abubacarr Marie Tambadou. Below is the Q and A interview we had with Justice Minister Tambadou. Please read on…
Mr. Baa Tambadou, is Gambia’s Justice Minister. Mr. Tambadou, what can you tell us about the fertilizer case involving the Ministry of Agriculture. What actually happened?
Well, I can confirm that the report by the investigative panel was forwarded by the office of the prosecutor to my Ministry and that the matter is under review. We have not yet completed our review, but I can confirm that the matter is with us.
And who were the people investigating the Ministry?
At this time, the matter is under review Pa. I am sure, when we conduct our review and complete it; we will be happy to provide all the information you want from it.
Is the Minister of Omar Amadou Jallow implicated in the report?
At this point, I cannot confirm or deny. We are reviewing the case file.
So, it is correct to say that this is a potential corruption case?
As I said, we are reviewing the report. I cannot confirm or deny anything to you, until we have reached a conclusion. Unfortunatley, I cannot comment on a matter that is under review because I don’t know how the review will end. And if you are patient with me, perhaps; in the next few days or weeks, we will be able to provide you concretely what our report is on the review.
For the benefit of our listeners, Minister Tambadou, what is the fertilizer case all about?
I am afraid again Pa, I am sure, I told you we are reviewing the case; I do not want to give any comment because the review is both the review of facts and the review of the law. So, I don’t want to give you fact here, that may turned out to be inaccurate after our review.
So, in other words, you don’t want to preempt the outcome of the investigations.
That’s right. It is not investigating as such; it is an analysis by the Ministry of the facts and the law; to determine whether offenses has been committed by any individuals and that is what I don’t want to preempt.
At this time, you cannot confirm whether charges would be filed against the Minister in question Omar Amadou Jallow and others?
At this point, I cannot confirm or deny, whether offenses has been committed and if they have been committed; who will be the ones that would be charged. That determination needs to be done.
And who uncovered this alleged corruption?
I do not know. All I know is that the office of the persecutor; sorry, the office of the president, forwarded an investigation report for our review and that is what we are doing. And I have to say this was forwarded to us a while back before this recent attention on the matter. But I can confirm that the office of the president has forwarded this report to us a while back.
When you said, a while back, can give a time line here?
I can’t recall exactly when because when files comes to my Ministry, they go to the Records Office; they go to certain individuals, before they end up on my desk. So, I cannot recall exactly the time, but I know certainly a few months back.
There has been a lot of speculations and Omar Amadou Jallow’s name is on the line. Based on the file that you are looking at right now, will you say that OJ has a case to answer?
How can I say that when we haven’t complete our review yet? I really can’t answer that question unfortunately.
And what does this case mean for the new Gambia?
I don’t understand when you said what does this case mean for the new Gambia. We are treating it like any other case.
I am talking about the government’s effort to fight graft; corruption.
Well, I can assure you that it doesn’t matter who is implicated. If an offense has been committed; we will give our advise and we will advise base on the law and the facts.
Okay. And before we let you go Minister Tambadou; I know we are in Ramadan now. Do you have any information about the Gamtel tendering process? We are made to understand that the Ministry of Finance singlehandedly awarded the international gateway to an international company, and the Ministry of Information; they are not happy about this.
Well, I am certainly aware that Honourable Jawo has expressed concern over the manner in which the Minister of Finance is handling that matter. I have been copied in the correspondence from Honourable Jawo to Honourable Sanneh and I think those concerns are legtimate based on information availbale to me. But I believe that the matter has been; is being dealt with rather. I am also privy to the fact that the office of the president has put this request for a suspension of the process, following the concerns expressed by the Minister of Information Honourable Jawo. So, the process has been halted as a result of this and the office of the president did make it clear that they should not; that the process should be suspended until this issue is resolved between the two Ministries.
So, the single sourcing in your own view, was not right?
I can’t comment about whether the single sourcing is right or not; I know as a matter of general law GPPA Act requires an open bidding process, but there are occasions when it excemptionlly provides for single sourcing. Whether or not in this particular instance whether the quotation for single sourcing where met, I don’t know because I am not privy to all the facts.
So, it is correct to say that the president’s office has intervened and the current tendering process has been put on hold?
To the best of knowlege, yes.
Minister Tambadou, we “wanna” thank you for your time.
Thank you, Pa.
Have a great evening brother.
Interviewed and transcribed By Pa Nderry M’Bai.
From: Freedom Newspaper