By: Kebba Mamburay/Mustapha Jallow
Mr Omar Jallow, Minister of Agriculture yesterday afternoon called for the provision of evidence for the allegation that he is involved in the sale of fertiliser for personal financial gain. He was speaking at a press conference held at his ministry.
Mr Jallow said while he was away on an official mission, it happened that some media published some allegation against him as minister of agriculture in relation to the issue of the expired fertilizers in different stores within the country. He added that in one of the publications, it was written that he signed a contract with a businessman for the sale of the fertilizer for financial gain. He then emphasised that allegation is unfounded, malicious and defamatory. The minister stated categorically that he had never been involved in such a transaction, neither signed a contract, nor knew when the contract was signed and had not known about the contract until long after the contract was signed.
He stated that the process started in 2009 when the fertiliser was imported into the country and found unfit for usage. Some of the people responsible for the importation were arrested and detained, OJ said.
According to him, in 2014, the process to discard this fertiliser was started and from the information he gathered including all the documents provided for media personnel as evidence and proof, due process and diligence were observed and respected.
He said he could not understand how he can be associated with a process that started since 2014 when he was not yet appointed, stressing that he was never contacted or aware of the contract. To clear the doubts of media personnel OJ provided copies of contract letters from GPPA, GGC and other relevant authorities who were involved in this process.
He further pointed out that about eight months ago, ISIS began an investigation regarding the saga and when they came to his office, he told them categorically clear that he was never informed, nor involved in the whole process of this fertilizer issue which was confirmed to them by his former permanent secretary.
OJ Jallow, minister of agriculture, said he would like to call on the publishers of the allegations raised against him to come forward to provide evidence that he signed this contract for financial gain, or else he will take legal action to resolve the matter.
He went on to say that the courts have to clear or settle this matter even if it will cost him his job, adding that not even the president can convince him to drop this matter so as to settle it out of court.
The Minister then remarked that, with the new dispensation, they thought that all professionals and institutions will live up to expectation and have high ethics but after going through serious and difficult times during the previous regime, they are witnessing people coming again to put them and their families through more stressing and difficult situations.
OJ argued that he could not engage in monetary corruption because if he were greedy we would not have come back to The Gambia because he was working in East Timor he was earning $6,000. He asked why would he leave that place for the Gambia if he has no love for this country?