A prominent and respected Senegalese journalist Pape Ale Niang, has called on the Barrow administration to vigorously pursue businesses owing taxes to the state, and those suspected of benefiting from former dictator Jammeh’s open corruption culture to enrich themselves at the detriment of poverty impoverished Gambians. Mr. Niang, who works with the DS2TV, as an anchor, noted that fighting corruption should be one of the government’s number one priorities if there should be any meaningful economic recovery. As it stands, the business community who were in Jammeh’s good books are yet to be investigated for any tax evasion or corrupt practices, he said.
Mr. Niang talks about reports he received in regards to one Senegalese national Omar Thorpe, believed to be a close confidant of president Macky Sall, who was said to have allegedly lobbied on behalf Mr. Samba that the new government will not touch the former close Jammeh buddy.
“I am currently researching on the story. I am yet to gather any concrete information about the veracity of Thorpe’s involvement in helping the likes of Samba. I was told that Omar Thorpe, a Senegalese national assisted a Gambian businessman to return to Banjul. True, or false, they said certain people in the government have been bought. I am not calling for the arrest of businessmen. All I am calling for is justice and economic recovery. The Gambia has lost a lot of money during Jammeh’s era. The Gambian government should not allow no sacred cows to walk freely in the streets of Banjul. People who benefited from Jammeh’s rule to dominate the economy, should be investigated,” he said.
Mr. Niang said Mr. Thorpe is a private citizen, who has been identified in some quarters as someone very engaged in what’s unfolding in Banjul politically. He called on the Barrow government to do the right thing by ensuring that the current state of the Gambian economy is fixed.
“I expect any responsible government to prioritize economic recovery under the circumstances. Since Barrow took charge of the Gambian state, no businessman close to Jammeh, has been invited by the police for questioning. We need businesses up and running in The Gambia, but notwithstanding, economic justice should be meted out to those who aided Jammeh in wrecking your economy. There shouldn’t be no sacred cows,” he added.
Mr. Niang was recently in Banjul to cover president Barrow’s inauguration. He said official corruption should not be condoned.
“The Gambia is my second home. I loved the Gambia and her people. We are one people. The new government should not let down Gambians. Gambians voted them into office because they wanted to see a meaningful change. If security officers accused of harming Gambians during Jammeh’s rule are being taken into custody, why are some members of the business community being treated as sacred cows? Those who evaded taxes should be held accountable,” he said.
Pape Ale Niang, also denied reports that DS2TV, monopolized the coverage of president Barrow’s inauguration.
“That’s not true. That’s false. The TFM crew came to Banjul hours before the inauguration. We do not issue press accreditation. We are also not in charge of security at the stadium. I do not want to get into the TFM/Buba Ndour thing. I have close relationship with Buba Ndour’s brother Yousou Ndour. Yousou is my good friend. But I think the most appropriate thing they should have done was to apply for an accreditation before the ceremony. I was just a reporter assigned to cover the occasion. I can work for TFM one day. So, it is not my take to comment on issues beyond my scope as a journalist. I have great respect for that medium,” he said adding that his boss Alhagie Ndiaye, and Muhammed Jah, of Q cell worked out the coverage he was asked to undertake in Banjul.
“We were not the only media house at the stadium. Al Jazeera was also there. We never charge Al Jazeera for any coverage fees,” he said.
Mr. Niang, has covered functions in Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, and elsewhere around the African continent. He is one of the leading journalists in Senegal.
Regarding the proposed bridge, Mr. Niang said both countries should do what is best for their people. He told Freedom Radio Gambia that contrary to what is being spewed around, both the Gambia and Senegal, will benefit economically from the bridge once it is commissioned.
“There are anti-Senegalese sentiments being spewed in the Gambia. Some are making false claims that the Senegalese are here to annex the Gambia to Senegal. I was talking to some members of the ECOMIG forces in Gambia, who happen to be Senegalese. They told me that they want to return home. They are getting pissed off with the false rumors being circulated. The Gambia, is a sovereign nation. Gambia’s sovereignty lies in the hands of its citizens and not Senegal,” he said.
Mr. Samba and Thorpe could not be reached for comment.