By Alagie Manneh
Despite the Supreme Court upholding a ruling that Lawyer Ousainu Darboe was guilty of tax evasion and should pay up, the UDP leader has said he was not.
In a Facebook live video yesterday, Darboe said he only “owed tax liabilities”.
“It is quite clear but of course, my political detractors, my opponents are spinning it to say it was tax evasion. I want to make it abundantly clear that I have not evaded tax. I owed tax… I had contested that I owed the amount and the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court said my contest cannot be upheld. It is as simple as that,” Mr Darboe said.
As a litigant, Mr Darboe said he had to accept the verdict of the court and clear his tax liabilities.
Mr Darboe lashed out at former journalist and now information minister, Ebrima Sillah, under whose watch two radio stations remain closed.
“The decision to suspend or not suspend any radio station, is squarely yours [Ebrima Sillah]. I hope that the Honorable Minister of Information will really look into this and not allow anybody, any authority to hijack the responsibilities entrusted to him. It is absolutely no answer to say that the security forces were acting on behalf of the government. No! The security forces do not have the authority to really close down any radio station,” Darboe said.
Speaking further, Mr Darboe said: “Honourable minister, please, you have been part of the anti-Jammeh struggle. You have vociferously condemned what had happened to journalists here. So, it should not happen under your nose. It should not happen when you are in fact the person who is vested with the power and authority to do what has been done by the security forces. Let us be a government of laws and not a government of men who will use brute force in order to achieve their objectives.”
Mr Darboe thumbed up the government for naming the International Conference Centre after former president Sir Dawda Jawara, and expressed his hope that in future others who contributed to the political life of the country and in other spheres will also have monuments and important edifices named after them.
He said: “People like IM Garba Jahumpa, Pierre Njie, Rev JC Faye, Sheriff Cessay, Sheriff Dibba, Sanjally Bojang, Kebba Leigh have contributed to making The Gambia what it is today.”
According to Darboe, the current dispensation owes its existence to the death of Solo Sandeng. “That is the stark reality. Solo Sandeng was the cause of the causes. The government of The Gambia should on the 14thof April, this year, name the Westfield square Solo Sandeng Square. That will be a fitting tribute to him.”
Proliferation of political parties
Darboe said Gambians now have diverse parties from which to select their leaders. “I am sure in making those choices, you will be guided by not only what is happening currently but what happened in the past.”
He challenged Gambians to carry on together without acrimony. “I hope we will be like the lawyers who go to court, fight it out and become friends. As political leaders, I hope we will avoid anything that will look ugly, unsavoury and will only promote what will advance our social cohesion and keep us united.”