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Suwaibu Touray: I’ll Only Return Government Vehicle When They Refund My D1.2m Car Allowance

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Hon. Suwaibou Touray, NAM for Wuli East

By Buba Gagigo

Hon. Suwaibu Touray, National Assembly Member for Wuli East Constituency, has said that he will return his government-issued vehicle when the government refunds his D1.2 million basic car allowance, which he paid towards the cost of the vehicle over the years.

Hon. Touray expounds on the reason for his refusal to accept vehicles in 2017 when the President provided vehicles to the National Assembly courtesy of an anonymous donor.

” In 2017/2018, the President provided the National Assembly with vehicles. However, I did not take the vehicle because I could not ascertain the source of funding. When we asked the President about the source of funding, he refused to disclose the donor on the basis that the donor wished to remain anonymous. As a result, I declined to use the vehicle.

He went on to delve into the genesis of the new vehicles

“I represent people who live far away. And because I am working for the country, If the government provides me with a vehicle and the procurement of the vehicle is transparent, I will accept it and use it to do my work just like other government employees.

“The National Assembly, at the end of its 5th term, approved a budget that included a basic car allowance for NAMs. The allowance was set at D10,260,000 in 2022 and D27,360,000 in 2023. The purpose of the allowance is to help NAMs with their mobility. The government will hold onto the allowance and use it to help NAMs purchase vehicles. The government will also cover any cost difference between the allowance and the cost of the vehicle.

“The vehicles that just arrived were supposed to be delivered in 2022. It is important to note that parliament does not make policies. The president and his team make the policies, and parliament supports them. The government has a policy of not buying substandard vehicles. The government decides what type of vehicle to procure for each category of official.

“I would buy my own vehicle if the government would give me back my basic car allowance of D1.2 million, which has accrued over the past five years. However, the government’s policy is not to give us the money. They say that we can either take the vehicle they give us or leave it, but they will not give us the allowance in cash.

“I will take the vehicle because it is the government’s responsibility to provide me with a vehicle for work. If they give me a vehicle, I will take it. If they refund my money, I will leave the vehicle with them.” he told King FM radio.

The National Assembly Members in the Gambia are currently being criticised for purchasing vehicles costing D2.5 million per vehicle. 

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