Nominated member of Gambia’s National Assembly, and a prominent member of the United Democratic Party, Honourable Ya-Kumba Jaiteh has added her voice to the ongoing twenty five million dollar ($25m) fuel saga that is currently grappling the country, calling on Gambian government to immediately release the detained Managing Director of Gam-Petroleum Saihou Drammeh and effect arrest on businessman Abubakary Jawara, founder of Gambia, Angola, China Holding Company (GACH).
The lawmaker’s call comes on the heels of a press conference converged by three government ministers to shed light on the theft of more than twenty five million dollar ($25m) worth of fuel at the Gam-Petroleum depot in the outskirt of Banjul belonging to International Traders in Brussels.
Last week Gambian government through the Minister of Information, Ebrima Sillah, Minister of Energy, Fafa Sanyang and Minister of Trade, Seedy Keita held a joint press conference where they disclosed that Gambian Government has set up a taskforce that has started investigations into the saga, revealing that two managers from the GamPetroleum have already been arrested.
They expressed government’s commitment to probe deeply into the saga, while highlighting difficulties in obtaining information from the officials of GamPetroleum.
“On the Petroleum Saga, the lack of fuel, they have arrested Saihou Drammeh and is coming to one week and the law says if you arrest someone within 72hrs you should either charge or set free that person. They are still detaining Saihou Drammeh while they refused to arrest Abubakary Jawara who is free and going on his normal business,” Hon. Ya-Kumba Jaiteh, cited Gambia Government double standard.
She added: “President Barrow did not do the right thing; we are not crazy nor under devil’s influence because we all know that it is Abubakary Jawara who won the contract for supply of fuel in the country but since being awarded the contract, he has never imported fuel into the country. He has been supplying fuel that belongs to International traders stocked at Gam-Petroleum depot.”
The lawmaker observed that if government investigation is anything to go by, Saihou Drammeh, Managing Director of Gam-Petroleum will not be arrested while Abubakary Jawara remains free, alleging that government will not effect any arrest on Abubakary Jawara because of his support for the President’s political expediency.
“Let Abubakary Jawara come out and tell us (Gambians) where he gets the fuel that he has been supplying. He was only engaged in supplying the missing fuels at Gam-Petroleum depot belonging to people, he has never imported any fuel into the country since he was awarded this contract,” Hon. Ya Kumba Jaiteh, challenged GACH Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
On the recent presser organised by the aforementioned Gambia Government Ministers, the lawmaker said the ministers failed to execute their duties leading to huge economic losses for the country, arguing that supposed the ministers were doing their jobs they wouldn’t have the time to sit comfortably until when fuel shortage hits the town before visitng the depot to do stock verification.
She said the laxity of the ministers has hampered the education of students and caused huge economic losses to the state, adding that the fuel shortage demonstrates the ineptitude of the Barrow administration.
According to her, UDP government will never condone such type of corruption in the country, adducing that the Leader of UDP Ousainu Darboe will never sit on a $25million corruption saga because of his integrity.
She condemned government’s new approach to containing the saga by way of waiving tax on imported fuels into the country, observing that the situation will lead to huge huge government taxes with adverse effects on the health services, maternal health among others.
“The tax they are going to waive is the money that should have been used to procure beds for our hospitals so that women will not queue for beds at the health centers. I told the Minister of Finance and i have been raising the issue at parliament, the ministry of finance has no rights to waive tax because the constitution stated that anyone with authority to waive tax must get the approval of the parliament,” the Nominated Lawmaker adduced.
She added: “But the Minister of Finance feels like doing anything he likes with the belief that nothing will come out of it. What they are waiving in taxes runs to millions of dalasis without getting any approval from the parliament.”
She said these types of corruption will never be allowed under a UDP government so that citizens can continue to benefit from state what they deserved.