The Gambian government has announced that it will table an anti corruption bill before the National Assembly in December 2019 to fight the scourge of corruption and penalise corrupt officials in the country.

President Adama Barrow made the announcement during the delivery of his State of the Nation’s address at the National Assembly in Banjul on Thursday.

“I promised that government will table an Anti-corruption Bill. We expect to table the bill here in December 2019,” the president told the Parliament.

He said that the bill was ready for submission but that “it was subjected to further review and fresh recommendations were raised for considerations”.

On the judiciary

The president said: “(the) judiciary is now working to ensure speedy trials and disposal of cases and to decongest the overcrowded remand prisons. Infrastructural works are in progress to facilitate and expand the court sittings at all levels –the Cadi, Magistrate and High Court and in various areas of the country.”

He said his government recognises the importance of maintaining an independent and efficient judiciary that delivers justice without undue delay on the rule of law and justice”, adding “the judiciary enjoys all the rights and independence it is provided for in the country’s statute books”

The president said the judiciary can now recruit all categories of staff without recourse to the Public Service Commission and the Personnel Management Office which he said was practiced in the past,

“There annual estimates of expenditure are presented to the National Assembly without any amendment and all their 2019 budget proposal for personnel were approved by the National Assembly,” he said.

He said the membership of the High Court judges has been increased by bringing on board three Gambian Judges including the Chief Justice, adding that “as opposed to holding a regular sitting before, the Supreme Court now holds regular session in every quarter of the year.”

President Barrow said all the seven judges including the president of the Supreme Court are Gambians, adding that the High Court has recruited four additional Gambian judges which brought the total to five Gambians.

He said plans are at an advanced stage to construct a court complex at Mile 7 Bakau to accommodate a commercial and land disputes court.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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