Friday, September 24, 2010

MSA Sold at $1.3 Million Say’s Finance Minister


“The Maintenance Service Was Sold in December 2008”

VOL:1 ISSN:20 The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Abdou Colley has disclosed to lawmakers that the Maintenance Service Agency (MSA) was sold to Unique Transport Systems Company (UTSCO) in December 2008, in the tune of US$1.3 million, out of which US$1.055, 914 (one million fifty-five thousand nine hundred and fourteen US dollars) has been received.

He told National Assembly Members that there is an outstanding balance of US$224, 086 expected to be paid in the fourth quarter.

Hon. Colley made these disclosure while responding to a question posed to him by the National Assembly Members for Kiang West and Minority leader, Hon. Momodou L.K. Sanneh, who asked him to inform the assembly the terms and conditions under which Maintenance Service Agency (MSA) is given to UTSCO and whether it was rented out to them and at what cost.

During the question and answer session at the National Assembly between NAMS and the executive in the fourth legislation session. The Finance Minister explained that following the conclusion of the sale of the Maintenance Service Agency (MSA) to Unique Transport Systems Company (UTSCO) in December 2008, the buyer (UTSCO) and the vendor (Government of the Gambia) agreed that payment will be made quarterly and since then three successive payments have been made to the Divestiture Fund Account at the Central Bank.

He noted that the first quarter payment received in February 2009 amount to US$350,000, the second quarter received in June 2009 was US$355, 914 and third quarter payment received in October 2009 amounts to US$350,000 and the last subsequent payment would be received in due course.

In response to a question raised by the member for Wuli West, Hon. Sidia Jatta on the sum accrued by the state in the form of royalties from mining since the inception of the process in the Gambia?

Mr. Colley said that the proceeds from sand mining are put into a Special Account at the Central Bank and then the funds are distributed as with 50 per cent to Brikama Area Council, 10 per cent to the National Environment Agency and 40 per cent to the Geology Unit.

He added that the part that goes to Geology is used to pay salaries of the Unit’s temporal staff (Inspectors) and other operation costs.

The Minister of Justice was also on offer to respond to questions on the country’s justice system. The Member for Foni Bintang, Hon. Ebrima Jammeh said that as the government attaches great importance to the role of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at the court levels, asked to furnish them with the composition of ADR at the high court level, the number of cases that have been resolved and how effective is their work.

Hon. Marie Saine-Firdaus said that Court Annex Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) was an outcome of a project under the Capacity Building and Economic Management Project (CBEMP) for speedy dispensation of justice.

The Justice Minister said that after the project faced out, the judiciary was unable to carry out the functions of the ADR effectively because of the fact that most of the staff trained overseas by the project are no more working with the judiciary.

She stressed that this has caused a setback for the effective functioning of the ADR at the judiciary, as total number of cases registered since the inception of ADR are 63 cases, but was quick to add that out of the 63 cases only 4 were resolved – One (1) from the lower court and three (3) from the high court, and the rest were returned to various courts.

She also said that the structure which was original put in place was not fully operational, but now a judge has been recently appointed to coordinate the Court Annex ADR, for dispensation of justice and speedy trial of cases.

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