By Buba Gagigo
Mama Fatima Singhateh, while testifying at the truth commission on her role as Attorney General and Minister of Justice under former president Jammeh said she was not used by anybody during her reign.
“My job was not to please the president. My job was to advise the President according to the law which I did. Let it be on record that I was not used by anybody and cannot be used by anybody,” she said during her testimony.
At this juncture, Counsel Haddy Dandeh referred her to an interview she granted to New Africa Magazine in 2014 in which she said the human rights of everyone was protected at the time.
However, she is not denying that The Gambia had Human Rights issues during her tenure but, she argued that there is no country in the World with a perfect human rights record.
Former AG said the human rights violations were not brought to her attention by anybody. She also said that lawyers usually visited her office seeking assistance regarding the cases of their clients, but none of them brought the violations to her attention.
Mama Fatima Singhateh, the last Justice Minister of Jammeh era, is a Gambian lawyer and former High Court and Court of Appeal judge from 2009 to 2013. She later served as Attorney General and Minister of Justice on two occasions under former president Jammeh, first from 2013 to 2014 and then from 2015 to 2017. Presently, she is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children.
Singhateh’s testimony at the Truth Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission [TRRC] centred on her roles as Minister as per the1997 Constitution, interference of former President Yahya Jammeh in the work of the ministry, her involvement in the 2012 Tax Evasion Commission, the Declaration of The Gambia as an Islamic State by Yahya Jammeh, her roles and responsibilities during the 2017 Impasse when former President Jammeh refused to relinquished power and the coming of Nigerian lawyers pronouncing Jammeh’s legitimacy.