By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Banjul Rapper Sheriff Camara stage name Chipa Yi has been compensated with D30,000 by the Gambian Police Force (GPF) after an investigation into his assault by a group of Police Officers back on 12th December 2021. Chipa Yi confirmed to Gainako Online News that he met the Inspector General of Police Abdoulie Sanyang on Wednesday 27th July 2022 around 10 am in the morning and discussed his complaint submitted to the GPF and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
This will be the third case that Gainako is aware of where the Security Apparatus has paid compensation to an alleged victim since the NHRC was formed in 2019. The first case was compensation of D25,000 paid by the GPF to one Ebrima Sanneh after a joint investigative panel found the former Anti-Crime Unit Commissioner Gorgi Mboob wanting for assaulting Ebrima Sanneh on his lower abdomen.
The second case is a D50,000 compensation from the Drug Law Enforcement Agency of the Gambia (DLEAG) paid to Sara Jawla. NHRC Chairperson Mr Emmanuel Joof revealed to Gainako that besides compensation they recommended for the DLEAG “to reprimand and initiate disciplinary proceedings against the officers involved, the development of a code of conduct etc amongst many other things”.
For this third compensation, the GPF Human Rights and Complaints Unit investigated the case and disciplined its officers by confining them to barracks for 15 days. It can be recalled that it was reported that Police had agreed to compensate Chipa Yi with D45, 000, however, the payment has now been reduced to D30,000 according to Chipa Yi who confirmed this to Gainako on Friday 29th July 2022.
This represents the second case where Gainako Online News broke the news of a human rights violation and assisted the victims to report to the authorities in the NHRC and the GPF for further action. In these two cases, the victims have been compensated D25,000 – Ebrima Sanneh and D30,000 – Chipa Yi. This highlights that the Gambian Security Institutions have demonstrated the willingness to hold their officers accountable.
This is a remarkable improvement from the first compensation breakthrough when the NHRC spearheaded the Investigation with the support of the Gambia Bar Association, The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations and the GPF back in 2020. In 2022 both DLEAG and the GPF have taken the initiative to investigate their own officer, discipline them and recommend compensation to victims.
This is commendable; however, questions arise on how transparent the remedial actions are to the public and if the officers found wanting are responsible for refunding the compensation to the authorities or if taxpayers’ money is being used to pay for compensation. Regardless, the action of disciplining officers found wanting could help deter future human rights violations and promote security–civilian relations in the Gambia.
Still pending at the NHRC is the case of the United Democratic Party (UDP) supporter who was beaten by a group of Police Officers from the PIU after the National Assembly Nomination of Momodou Sabally was rejected by the Independent Electoral Commission. In this ongoing case, the NHRC issued a statement condemning the authorities for “unacceptable Police brutality against a civilian”.