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Published On: Thu, Apr 4th, 2019

SIDIA JATTA CHALLENGED JUSTICE MINISTER ON CATTLE SOLD

The national assembly for Wuli west Sidia Jatta on Tuesday 26th March squeezed the minister of Justice Aboubacarr Tambedou to answer questions and clear doubts of national assembly members while he was appearing before deputies at the national assembly. Before placing down his question, Sidia Jatta observed that although the minister was not obligated to bring the reports of the Janneh commission before deputies but he is obligated to answer questions and concerns from sitting national assembly members, both oral and written. He further suggested that the minister must answer questions whilst appearing before the house because the deputies are very interested in that answer. He said that the minister has to answer to the question because they are not willing to wait for the report, and suggested that the minister should to go back and check his statistics and then send a written report to answer to the assembly. He said that he wasn’t taking the minister’s explanations which indivertible, and that the answers are supposed to be his and not anybody’s. He supposed that the minister must have come into contact with this answer before appearing for this questions and answer session. “if you do not have that is your problem but we are going to ask questions”, said Jatta.

Jatta mentioned that the former president once told him during one of his nation’s addresses,  that he had five thousand heads of cattle. This is contrarily to what the minister reported to the assembly, he said. The figure reported by the minister was 725 heads of cattle, which needs clarifications on remaining cattle. Jatta poses that if the commission has mandate to dispose of vehicles, then why not animals? and further asked why was it necessary for the high court to intervened and gave authorizations, when they already had authority to disposed off assets which belonged to the former president? He called this double standards.

The minister in his response clarified that he does understand that he is under an obligation to response to questions put by deputies. He called on member for Wuli west to also understand that responsibility goes in so far as those questions are properly placed before him for answer. These questions he said need to be place within his personal and professional knowledge to give answers. The sale of cattle he said was under the supervision of the high court and not the Janneh commission. He said that he did not have access to all the information regarding the work of the Janneh commission but what would be useful is when the commission submits its report then he can share with the assembly.

He said the reasons why the high court disposed 725 heads of cattle and not the Janneh commission was because it was the high court that had the primary jurisdictions as it is the high court that had frozen the former president’s assets. These frozen assets he said were put under the custody of the registrar general including the recovered cattle as a result. The commission he said could not have disposed of the cattle because it did not fall under their jurisdiction but the high court which gave the initial orders to freeze the former president’s assets. He stated how long ago did the former president disclosed that he had 5000 heads of  cattle, that it is was for those reasons that the court on their application decided to disposed off the cattle because at the time these cattle were either disappeared, stolen, or some were dying of diseases. Obviously he said these cattle has depreciated in number and therefore prompted the urgency of it’s disposal through the intervention of the high court to sell the cattle before they depreciate in number.

Jatta further pushed the minister to clarify that the high court has the mandate to dispose off assets. He also demanded from the minister as to why they have to dispose animals and not all frozen assets.

The minister said that when the assets of the former president were frozen in May 2017 the Janneh commission was not established. Amongst the properties frozen, he said were the movable and movable properties including cattle and other animals that were found in his mini zoo in Kanilai. The high court he said had already exercised it’s jurisdiction over those properties. Because of the court’s decision at that point, he said the Janneh commission could not exercise jurisdiction properly over the same matters, because there is already  a judicial action taken on those properties. He said it was based on this that his office consulted the high court to sell the animals but not from the commission.

On the Bank accounts discovered by the commission, he said the details of those accounts are not under his preview but the report will sure provide them. The commission’s report he said will detail and reveal the nature of those recovered and hidden bank accounts and the monies that were discovered in those accounts.

Awa B Bah

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