Fajara, 14 July, 2017 – President Adama Barrow yesterday swore in members of the commission of enquiry established to look into the financial activities of certain public bodies, enterprises and offices and the accumulation of assets by former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh and his associates.
Commission Chair Surahata S Janneh took the oath before President Barrow, along with commission members Bai Mass Saine, Aboisseh George and secretary Mamadi Kurang. Legal CounselAmie Bensouda was also present.
President Barrow said the appointments were significant. He emphasised that the commission was not established to carry out a witch hunt but rather to investigate numerous allegations of abuse of office, mismanagement of public finances and willful violations of the constitution. He urged the commission members to work hard to provide the state with information that would help address the alleged large-scale misappropriation of public funds.
The President assured the commission members that they would be able to work in an environment of complete transparency and be able to perform their assignment without any interference from government. He said: “Clearly, the provision of credible information and pointers by the public is essential for the success of any commission. I therefore, call upon the public to give this commission the necessary support and collaboration to enable it to perform this difficult task effectively.”
Surahata Janneh assured the President that the commission’s work would be devoid of bias or prejudice. He assured citizens that their interests would be protected when appearing before the commission, and he encouraged everyone with information to come forward.
Justice Minister and Attorney General Abubacarr Marie Tambadou reiterated President Barrow’s assurances of non-interference by government in any of the commission’s work or decisions. He said the government looked forward to receiving the commission’s recommendations at the conclusion of the exercise, three months from July.
Fajara, The Gambia, 11 July 2017-President Adama Barrow yesterday received a visit in from the Vice Chancellor of Saudi Arabia’s Madina University, Dr. Hatim Bun Hassan El Marzuki.
Dr. Hatim Bun Hassan thanked President Adama Barrow for the Gambia hosting the first forum of Gambian graduates of Medina University, which is taking place in Banjul this week.Dr El Marzuki said the purpose of his visit was to express thanks and appreciation and to promote the true principles of Islam, promote peace and love to the world.
The forum is being held in The Gambia to strengthen the relationship between the University of The Gambia and the University of Madina in the areas of science and engineering and cyber security. The Vice Chancellor said the King of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi government supported Madina University students. He said he was encouraged that the university’s graduates returned to set up their own institution of higher learning in their country of origin. Vice Chancellor El Marzuki said that whilst most of those who graduate study Sharia and Dawa, they were now expressing increasing interest in other areas like research, and socioeconomic issues such as ‘halal’ food.
Vice Chancellor El Marzuki called onMuslims to do away with all kinds of extremism and to focus on promoting the true meaning of Islam.
President Barrow welcomed the delegation and thanked the members for coming to The Gambia to attend the forum. He said it reassured him of the goodwill towards The Gambia. Speaking of the importance of the university, he stressed that no country could grow without education.
President Barrow emphasised the importance of democracy and cited the Arab Islamic American Summit, in which different Muslim countries participated to address extremism and terrorism. He said The Gambia valued its democracy and explained that this was the reason why Gambians voted for change through the ballot box last December. He said the new Gambia would respect all protocols as a democratic nation.
The President of the Supreme Isalamic Council, Alhajie Lamin Touray, thanked the University of Madina for conducting its selection interviews in The Gambia, as this freed them from the logistical challenges they would face if they had to travel to Senegal for the interviews. He seized the opportunity to appeal for support for the Islamic University in The Gambia.
Minister of Higher Education, Badara Joof expressed optimism that the partnership will open opportunites for science and engineering, information and communication technology, and mechanical engineering. The Saudi side expressed its interest in Islamic banking and insurance. Minister Joof shared the Gambian government’s interest in promoting peace. He said that without peace, there could be no development. Mr Joof urged the rejection of all kinds of extremism. He cited the promotion of peace by the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Conference and other partners. He added that Saudi Arabia was the first country to promote globalisation as symbolised in Arafat, where people from different cultures, social and economic class come together in unity.
The Gambian government has taken a significant step towards improving electricity supply in the country. The Gambian and Senegalese national electricity corporations last week signed a memorandum of understanding that will strengthen energy cooperation between the two countries. Both nations already enjoy an especially close relationship since the coming to office of President Barrow in January this year.
Gambian Petroleum & Energy Minister Fafa Sanyang recently led a team of officials to Dakar for meetings with Senegalese counterparts.
Besides finalising the memorandum of understanding, the national utilities, Société Nationale d’Électricité de Sénégal (SENELEC) and National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), also initialed a highly concessional draft power purchase agreement, to be presented for approval by their respective boards for final signature.
The power purchase agreement deal will connect cross-border points at Keur Ayib, Karang and Tamba Kunda. It will see SENELEC immediately supplying between three to 10 megawatts of electricity to NAWEC, with the possibility of expansion as the capacity of the network grows.
The electricity supply from SENELEC will go a long way to complementing NAWEC`s supply. With this initiative, most parts of rural Gambia are expected to enjoy access to 24-hour electricity before long. This is a significant milestone in the Gambian government’s rural electrification programme.
While in Dakar, Minister Sanyang paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Mahammed Dione of Senegal. He briefed him on the Gambian government’s aspirations of sector-wide cooperation between the two ministries of energy and petroleum.
Mr Sanyang explained that the objective was to align policies and strategies and mutually defend both countries’ interests as members of several regional organisations. These include the West Africa Power Pool, the Gambia River Basin Development Organisation, the Senegalo-Gambia Permanent Secretariat and the Mauritania-Senegal-Gambia-Guinea-Bissau-Guinea (Conakry) Geological Basin.
Prime Minister Dione thanked Mr Sanyang and welcomed the initiative. He confirmed the Senegalese government’s commitment and full support, urging officials on both sides to take the necessary next steps to expeditiously formalise the cooperative initiative through diplomatic channels.
Electricity generation remains a top priority for the Barrow administration, which inherited less than 50% of the total installed generation capacity within the greater Banjul area. NAWEC has so far rehabilitated three of several old and faulty generators, which had down for almost a year. These generators are currently providing an additional 18 megawatts of power. The company is currently rehabilitating three other generators of a total capacity of 21 megawatts, and these are expected to come on line later this year.
NAWEC will also commission an 11-megawatt new generating set for commercial operations by the end of December. In the medium term, NAWEC plans to increase the available generation capacity to 120 megawatts by 2020 through a combination of public and private investment.
Source: NAWEC and Ministry of Petroleum and Energy