Friday, October 6, 2017

Illegal use of Social Security funds by Yaya Jammeh

On the 4th of March, 2014, we wrote this about the misuse of the Pensions, Provident and Housing Funds of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation by committing illegally funds that belong to the Gambian workers and their employers who have been contributing to these Funds for their retirement.  The day of reckoning is finally here: 

Yaya Jammeh and Edward Graham continue to abrogate the laws of the Gambia by using Social Security funds to invest in highly risky businesses and activities that tantamount to gambling with the heard-earned savings of Gambian workers.

Never mind that these criminals claim that the contract is between Youssou Ndoure and SSHFC Staff Association, the entire contract sum is coming from the coffers of the Corporation to which they will held accountable, together with Yaya Jammeh.

To pay Youssou Ndour $80,000 for a "string of concerts" billed as entertainment that will "make every Gambian happy because they all miss the icon."  The public relations officer of the SSHFC went to the extent of thanking both God and Yaya Jammeh for making the signing with the Senegalese singer possible.  The collective display of insanity at the SSHFC is one more sign that the regime of Yaya Jammeh is engaged in a form of extortion associated more with organized crime than a so-called head of state.

The act of paying a singer $80,000 at a time when the Gambia is experiencing its worst economic downturn in nearly four decades is both obscene and criminal.   If Youssou Ndoure and his ilk are blinded by money to see the horrible human right abuses that Gambians suffer at the hands of one of the worst dictator on the continent, Gambians like Edward Graham, Alahji Mohammed Sallah, Gibril and Lamin Sima all of SSHFC should have opposed the deal, even at the risk of losing their jobs.

Investing pensioner's funds recklessly is criminal enough because it is prohibited by the very law that established the SSHFC.  What is equally repulsive, and a sign of complete break-down of Gambia's public finance infrastructure and the entire budgetary process to go with it, is the perversion of a once clearly-delineated role of central government.

SSHFC officials claim that proceeds of the concerts is to be " used to support the development initiatives of Yaya Jammeh in key sectors such as security, education, agriculture and health."

Since when is public finance now the responsibility of SSHFC Staff Association?  What is the function of central government?  What are our taxes for?  If the central role of government of providing and finance the public goods for the public good, including but not limited to security, agriculture, health and education is now the function of a parastatal, then, where is Gambia headed?

SSHFC must realize that Yaya Jammeh is using the corporation's assets for his private use and benefit which is a criminal act and all those lending support to such acts will be held responsible.   As the adage goes:  ignorance of the law is no excuse.  To the staff of the corporation, in the event that you have never bothered to read the Act creating the SSHFC, we'd suggest that you get a copy and read it.  All of you, from Yaya Jammeh and Edward Graham to Alhaji Mohammed Salleh and Lamin Sima, are breaking the law and you will be held responsible.