Lawmakers on Monday expelled the disgraced National Assembly Member (MAM) for Niani Constituency, Demba BT Sambou, for what they described as contempt of the Assembly.
NAM Sambou was expelled after participating at an International Legislative Conference in the United States of America from August 7-11, 2016 but failed to return as scheduled. He and Hon. Ebrima Solo Jammeh of Foni Bintang Karanai both participated at the said event as voluntary members of the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) with their travel expenses, participation fees and accommodation all paid by the National Assembly of The Islamic Republic of the Gambia. Hon. Jammeh has since returned and resumed duty.
Tabling the motion before lawmakers, Hon. Abdoulie K. Jawla, NAM for Sandu, who was deputising for the acting Majority Leader, said the move was taken in accordance and pursuance of the provisions of the Standing Orders 26 of the House, which make provision for the suspension of a member.
He further stressed that Sambou has recklessly abandoned his duty and office and as well breached his rights and privileges as prescribed in Section (112) (a) and (b) of the 1997 Constitution. “His actions tantamount to contempt of the National Assembly, an affront to the dignity, integrity, honour and privileges accorded members of the National Assembly,” he pointed out.
“This is also affront and disgrace to the sovereign people of the Republic; in particular, the Constituency of Niani who had trusted and voted him on an Independent ticket to the National Assembly. He unceremoniously and without regard to conscience and dignity, abandoned the sovereign people of his Constituency by failing to return.”
Hon. Jawla quoted section (91) (1) (h) of the 1997 Constitution which states that a member of the National Assembly shall vacate his or her seat in the National Assembly “if he or she is found in contempt of the National Assembly and is expelled on a resolution supported by not less than three quarters of the members of the National Assembly.”
“If we cannot regulate our affairs,discipline our members and frown on the misconduct of any of our membership, then we should not expect to be respected by anybody as no will take us for our words. Misdemeanour or wrongdoings are always a phenomenon in society; but society should also be able to put in place measures and mechanisms that will appropriately sanction and punish such misdemeanours. Thus, we are collectively jointly and severally obliged across all political persuasions to come together as an Assembly and punish this crime,” he affirmed.
Seconding the motion, Hon. Samba Jallow, the Minority Leader and NAM for Niamina Dankunku, who dwelled on his relationship with the disgraced lawmaker dating back to their days at school, said BT Sambou has indeed disappointed the people of Niani.
“He was my classmate that was why whenever I am engaged with assignments, I delegate my responsibilities to him as National Assembly member on series of occasions. But during the process [leading to his travel to the United States], he never consulted me and did all his transactions and by the time I knew about it he was already in America,” the Minority Leader said, noting that he feels guilty that Sambou failed to put him in the picture.
by Aji Fatou Faal-Sonko