Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gambia: Parliament Approves Anti-Graft Commission Bill

An anti-graft commission bill meant to punish crimes of official corruption has been passed into law by Gambia’s parliament on June 28, 2012.

The 40page “The Gambia Anti-Corruption Bill, 2012” provides for the setting up of an Anti-Corruption Commission that will hold a mandate of investigating and prosecuting crimes of corruption committed by Gambians within and outside the country.

The Commission will be made up of a six member committee including a chairperson who shall serve maximum two-terms of office. They’ll be the faces behind the provisions outlawing corruption in the Gambia for the first time ever.

The conspicuous absence of such a body since independence in 1965 means crimes of official corruption have not been properly put on check and some big fishes might have gone uncaught. 

It was also part of the issues that make the government to fall short of meeting the required international standards in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.   

The fight against corruption involves a structured, sustained and systematic engagement, Gambia’s Attorney General and Justice Minister, Mr. Lamin Jobarteh told parliamentarians on Thursday when he was seeking for approval.

He said it is fit to put in place a necessary institutional framework to spearhead the fight against corruption, which he added: “Is the main concern as at today of the Government of The Gambia and its people in view of what had and have being happening in our daily lives today.”

Mr. Jobarteh noted this bill will greatly help in the fight against corruption. It will establish a permanent institution given the power to investigate and prosecute supposed “corrupt officials” without fear or favour.
The motion to pass the bill into law was seconded by the ruling party’s Member for Jeshwang Constituency, 

Hon. Haddy Nyang-Jagne. She said the Anti-Corruption Bill is non-controversial, while arguing that corrupt practices have had a “negative impact on the country’s development.”

The Bill was later approved by the lawmakers “in view of its non-controversial nature.”

AML/FT Bill 2012

On June 27, the Gambia Government decided to toughen the law against money laundering and financing of terrorism following the parliament’s endorsement of the “Anti-Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Bill, 2012.”

It states that an individual who is liable in a case of money laundering offences shall be sentenced to a jail term of not less than 10 years.

In the case of a corporate body, it shall be fined nothing less than D10 million (over US$357,000) or an order for the revocation of the license of that organisation.

“In an effort to remedy the situation, and bring our legislation in line with international standards, there is need to amend the current anti-money laundering legislation, including changing the name of the Money Laundering Act 2003 to Anti-Money Laundering Act 2012 and also upgrade it to the standard recommended by Financial Action Taskforce (FATF),” Mr. Abdou Kolley, Gambia’s Finance Minister said. 

The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions. Its mandate is to set standards and to promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation, and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

Written by Modou S. Joof 

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