Sabally banned from holding public office for life

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EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Gambian exiled former President Yahya Jammeh’s one-time presidential affairs minister have been recommended by the Commission of Inquiry not to hold any public office again or be appointed as director for any state owned enterprise for at least ten years.

In a 93-page report the government released on Friday that was produced based on the findings and recommendations from the 1, 600-page report of the Commission, it concluded that Momodou Sabally is banned from holding any public office for the remainder of his life. The report also banned Mr. Sabally from holding any director position in any state owned enterprise in the country for ten years.

A former economist at Central Bank of The Gambia and director of budget at Ministry of finance, Mr. Sabally had testified at the Commission that was established by President Adama Barrow in 2017 to probe into financial activities of public bodies, enterprises and offices as regards to their dealings with the country’s former President, Yahya Jammeh.

Many Gambians have called Mr. Sabally’s indictment as bias, saying many other officials of the Jammeh government were involved in adverse financial misappropriations, like current finance minister Mamburay Njie and President Barrow’s chief of Protocol Alhagie Ousman Ceesay, whose situations are ignored and are still working in the Barrow government.

On Thursday, a confidential source told Eye Africa TV that Mr. Sabally had filed an appeal against the Commission to the High Court, some two months ago, to set aside adverse findings against him and is waiting for judges to resume in October when the case will be heard.

The commission’s report found, inter alia, that during Mr. Sabally’s tenure as secretary general, he was signatory to various public accounts and was involved in the withdrawal of large sums of public funds, some of which were not accounted for, on his former boss Mr. Jammeh’s instructions.

He was a commissioner in a 2011 Commission of Inquiry that former President Jammeh established to probe into tax evasion and other corrupt practices of accountants, legal practitioners, companies, and private persons, and institutions that are required to pay tax to the Gambia Revenue Authority.

As Budget Director during the Jammeh era, Mr. Sabally was a commissioner in the tax commission that allegedly found both the chairman Surahata Janneh and lead counsel Amie Bensouda of the Barrow established Commission of Inquiry wanting for tax evasion. “The Commission found that Momodou Sabally and former President Jammeh are jointly and severally liable for the said amounts for money misappropriated by former president Jammeh,” the report stated.

The government indicated in its report that Mr. Sabally’s many involvements in the financial transactions of Mr. Jammeh which, it said was not part of his official duties as secretary general at the time, demonstrates the enthusiasm with which he facilitated the transactions. “His conduct fell far short of the standard of professional conduct expected of the head of the civil service at the time.”

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