By Kebba Jeffang
The Justice Minister, Aboubacarr Tambadou, has a press conference that the office of the Chief Justice in consultation with the Ministry of Justice, has begun drafting a bill on the establishment of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), which will be tabled before deputies at the National Assembly soon.
“The establishment of the CRC by an Act of the National Assembly, has many advantages including the opportunity that will be given to the honourable members of the Assembly, who are representatives of the people, to participate in the Constitutional Review Process, from the very beginning,” he said.
He said the public consultations will be conducted by the CRC in drafting a new Constitution and members of the National Assembly shall have an opportunity to discuss and debate on the project and express, through these debates, the concerns, views and opinions of the wider public.
He said such approach will also engender greater legitimacy, transparency and accountability to the entire process.
“Allow me to re-iterate, that the proposed new Constitution of The Gambia, shall be one that will reflect faithfully and accurately the views of the generality of Gambians both at home and abroad,” he said.
Mr. Tambadou who also defended the extension of the ongoing Commission of Inquiry to six months, said it is due to the emergence of new evidence, which warrants the calling of more witnesses to testify before the Commission.
“It is the nature and complexity of the evidence adduced by witnesses before the Commission, which will necessitate the procurement of the services of forensic accountants and auditors; the numerous public enterprises, bodies and offices that are the subject of this inquiry and are yet to be heard; and the nature, time and complexity of the investigations covering a period of over 22 years from 22 July 1994 to 21 January 2017,” he said.
He said the ministry had sought for the approval of the National Assembly on the increment of remuneration to an additional amount of D500, 000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Dalasi) for each of the said Commissioners, for their extension payments.
The members of the Commission are the Chairperson Surahata Janneh, Bai Mass Saine and Abiosseh George.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tambadou also indicated that the criminal trial involving the former senior officials of the National Intelligence Agency, will resume on Monday 16th October 2017.
“I have been informed by the Prosecutor, Mr Antouman Gaye, that he intends to file a motion to amend the indictment in order to increase the number of Counts to 26, from the initial number of 12 Counts,” he said.
Mr. Tambadou also thanked the UNDP and the Turkish Government for the donations of computers to build the capacity of the office.
“We have also secured funding to start our project of creating modern electronic case management systems and electronic record keeping including the digitization of the registration of deeds and transfers under the Registrar General’s department of the Ministry. We hope to gradually phase out hard paper registration systems soon,” he concluded.