Sunday, May 8, 2016

The second of three of Jammeh's henchwomen

Mama Fatima Singhateh, Attorney General and Minister of Justice
Mama Fatima Singhateh, the second of three of Jammeh's henchwomen, is the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. who is on her second stint at the position.  She was first appointed to the positions in August 2013, dismissed in August 2014, reappointed in January 2015. [If you've missed out on the first of three of Jammeh's henchwomen, check it our here.]

Prior to all this, she was a judge in the High Court from while serving as Chairman of the Tax Commission and from where she went after Jammeh's political enemies and her former colleagues on the bench and fellow lawyers alike.  She ordered the arrest and detention of Mr. Geoffrey Renner - Chairman of the Central Bank of The Gambia and a practicing public accountant - for contempt.  Dozens of lawyers, most of whom were her mentors and colleagues were served with notices to appear before a Tax Commission that was initiated and manipulated from behind the scenes by the corrupt and vindictive Yaya Jammeh.

Among the numerous lawyers found to owe millions of dalasi were the doyen of the Gambia Bar Association, Surahata Janneh, Antouman Gaye, and Cheyassin Secka, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice.  Joining the list of illustrious sons of the Gambia representing the finest and the best were none other than Ousainou Darboe who s also the leader of the biggest opposition party, the United Democratic Party.

Mr. Darboe is presently behind bars for leading a protest demonstration after a member of the executive of his political party and youth leader - Solo Sandeng - died in police together with other protesters.  The charges he is facing include riot and incitement.  A conspiracy charge, bringing the total charges to eight, was added as an after-thought while he was being arraigned - a classic and signature trumped-up charge that Mama Fatima Singhateh and her mercenary public prosecutor, S. H. Barkum, have become notorious for.  

Many Gambians have come to recognize Jammeh's favorite method of "getting at his enemies" by forming Commission of Inquiries to find them in contravention of the law.   This tactic have been used by Jammeh when he seized power and set up the Assets Commission to investigate corrupts practices of members of the Jawara regime.  When the Bamfor Commission ( named after its Ghanaian chairman ) didn't find a single minister or senior official wanting, Jammeh, then Chairman of the military Council that ruled The Gambia by decree, shelved the Bamfor Report because it deprived him of the justification he used to illegally seized power.

Learning from lessons of the Bamfor Commission findings, Jammeh relies more on corrupt, unqualified and off-the-streets foreign lawyers and judges that have come to be known as mercenary judges and prosecutors to lock up opponents of the regime.  One such prosecutor is the current Director of Public Prosecutor (DPP) S. H. Barkum who serves under, and thus takes direct orders from Attorney General Singhateh.  Mr. Barkum specializes in trumped-up charges against opponents - real and perceived - of the dictatorship of the Jammeh regime.

Mama Fatima Singhateh is presiding over a judiciary that is the most political and corrupt of any in Gambia's over half a century post-independence history.  It is a judiciary designed and operated exclusively to punish Jammeh's opponents and reward his friends, shamelessly using every coercion technique in the book, including threatening presidential phone calls, to magistrates and judges, to force the desired ruling from the bench; not even the Gambia Bar Association is spared from coercion and manipulation from Jammeh and his Attorney General and Minister of Justice.  Mama Fatima Singhateh is the supervisor of this rotten judicial system and she's being ably assisted by DPP Barkum.