By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
An anti-corruption organisation called ‘Gambia Participates’ marked this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day at its office in Kanifing. December 9th is recognised by the United Nations as International Anti-Corruption Day.
‘Gambia Participates’ is known for its anti-corruption campaign called ‘Follow The Money’ project, funded by the US Embassy in Banjul and ‘Know Your Budget’, supported by International Republican Institute, in partnership with Beakanyang.
The United Nations said: “Every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption, a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of global GDP. According to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption in developing countries, are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance. The Founder and Executive Director of ‘Gambia Participates’ Marr Nyang, said the country has recently received support from international partners worth billions of Dalasi; that when Government campaigns against corruption and criminalize corrupt institutions and individuals, these billions of Dalasi received can be used wisely to support the country’s development agenda. He said rural communities are the most vulnerable ones; that with all the grants received to support them, it is unfortunate little, has been enjoyed by these communities from the grants received.
He said The Gambia is still under-developed with dilapidated facilities especially in the field of health and education due to corruption practices. Gambia is the 145th least corrupt country out of the 175 countries mentioned by Transparency International. Nyang said the budget speech will be on December 15th and that in order to curb corruption in The Gambia, it is necessary to know where our money comes from and where it goes. “The government of the Gambia promised the electorate “Transparency”, and must give citizens Access to Public Information. If “Public Information” is restricted to the “Public”, then why the name “Public Information”? There is no Freedom of Information Act in The Gambia, and any government that restricts the public access to public information, then there is a tendency of corruption practice,” Nyang said. He called on the Government to be transparent in the way they manage public wealth.