Hon. Ya Kumba Jaiteh

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.

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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