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Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy Hosts Cybercrime Retreat with National Assembly Members

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Ousman Bah, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

The Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy (MOCDE) recently initiated a two-day cybercrime retreat alongside National Assembly Members to delve into the implementation mechanisms of the 2023 Cybercrime Bill. The aim is to safeguard citizens and enhance Gambia’s digital landscape.

Conducted at a local hotel in Kotu, the event brought together members from the National Assembly’s ITC and Education committees, alongside support staff and Ministry representatives.

Minister Ousman A. Bah emphasized the bill’s significance in bolstering provisions against cybercrime and establishing effective procedures for securing electronic evidence and international cooperation. He highlighted its role in deterring malicious actors and fostering collaboration on a regional and international scale.

The comprehensive legislation framework, Bah explained, aims to combat cybercrime, promote best practices, and facilitate law enforcement’s pursuit and prosecution of offenders. He acknowledged the support received from stakeholders, particularly the Ministry of Justice, and encouraged rigorous scrutiny of the bill to address national concerns.

“This bill is to serve as a comprehensive legislation framework to combat crimes, facilitate the use of computing devices, or direct computing devices. The legislation also serves to deter malicious actors, and criminals as well to ensure best practices, enable law enforcement to successfully pursue, and prosecute cybercrime criminals, and foster regional, and international collaboration. As you can see a lot of countries including our partners, the World Bank, and others are really eager to see the bill coming to law in our country,”

He said the introduction of a comprehensive cybercrime law that facilitates international cooperation will help expedite the fight against all forms of online crimes.

He went on to praise all the stakeholders that have been working with them tirelessly, especially the Ministry of Justice. while encouraging the participants to scrutinize the Bill and make sure it addresses the national concerns.

Lamin Camara, Permanent Secretary at MOCDE, stressed the extensive consultation process preceding the bill’s submission to the cabinet and the National Assembly. He underscored the importance of engagement to guide the implementation of cybercrime measures effectively.

“When this bill was developed it went through the process of consultation, and we have collaborations with our stakeholders, and it was developed at a validation workshop. After which the document was sent to the cabinet for adoption and the cabinet adopted it, and now is sent to the National Assembly for enactment. And as part of the process of the National  Assembly consultation is very vital in the enactment of laws. 

“That is why we found it befitting to have this session together with them so that we all could discuss this bill, and try to see how we can bring our common understanding together. So that once it’s passed into law it can be implemented,” he said.

Hon. Bakary K. Badjie, Vice Chairman of the standing committee on ITC and Education, emphasized the necessity of consultation in the legislative process. He lauded the retreat’s role in shaping the bill’s implementation to ensure it serves the interests of Gambian citizens.

“we make laws to protect the people of the Gambia and as a result of that any laws we are making we pay attention to its outcome”.

The cybercrime Bill was tabled before the  National Assembly of the Gambia on Monday 18th March 2024, and the Bill was further committed to the Assembly Business Committee for committal.

The cyber-crime bill seeks to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of computer systems, programs, and data. It also seeks to prevent the unlawful use of computer systems and facilitate the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution, and punishment of cybercrime.

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