Gambian leader President Adama Barrow has constituted a six-member panel to investigate the crisis at the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, the spokesperson of President Amie Bojang told journalists on Wednesday.
The staff of the institution that manages pensioners’ funds in the country have been on strike for about six months since tensions emerged between them at their manager Mohammed Manjang.
The protesting staff accused Manjang of corruption and mismanagement, an accusation he denies.
On Tuesday, the 271 protesting staff locked the institution’s headquarters and denied management access to the building until the intervention of country’s security chiefs whose dialogue ended the 5-hour stalemate.
“An independent six-member panel led by Momodou Samateh has been setup to investigate the crisis in the social security… The team has been provided with a TOR and it is to report in one month,” said Bojang.
Samateh is the current chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC) who has extensive national and international experience in public administration.
In his inaugural remark at the presidency on Wednesday, President Barrow said: “In our new democracy, we have to identify people who have the capacity, professional ethics and honesty to take responsibility. It is in this context that members have been chosen to constitute this panel.”
Samateh said they would dedicate time to the assignment, and would be fair in the execution of task so that the nation can move forward.
“It is a part of nation building. We are not doing this job for the president. We are doing it for ourselves, for posterity and for all Gambians,” he added.
Other members of the Panel are equally experts and respectable members of society: former Minister of Higher Education, Mr. Crispin Grey-Johnson, Hon. Alieu Ngum, Mrs. Nelly Taylor and Alhaji Tamu Njie and Nyallo Barrow.
Meanwhile, the permanent secretary at the finance ministry Lamin Camara has told Kerr Fatou that the panel’s work started effective Wednesday.
There are unconfirmed reports that Manjang has also been suspended on today. However, Camara said he is not aware of Manjang’s suspension but ‘that can be the first action of the panel investigating the crisis’.
The staff representative at the board of SSHFC, Momodou Camara, who led the protest against Manjang has been suspended last week and prevented from accessing his office.
The protesting staff said that action was bias since Camara is their voice at the board level.