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Gambia: Anti-Hoarding Bill with Stringent Provisions Enacted

(July 1, 2009) On June 23, 2009, the Gambian National Assembly passed the Hoarding Prohibition Bill of 2009, a law that seeks to put an end to the practice by some businessmen of hoarding essential commodities to create artificial shortages and thus be able to hike the prices on such commodities to increase profit margins. (Abdoulie G. Dibba, Hoarding Prohibition Bill Passed, FOROYAA, June 26, 2009, available at The law stipulates punishments for persons convicted of engaging in hoarding and their accomplices. It imposes a duty on everyone to report on people engaged in hoarding; failure to do so is a crime of omission that is also punishable by law. (Id.)

According to Marie Saine-Firdaus, Gambia's Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who introduced the bill in the National Assembly, violation of the provisions of the law is punishable, on conviction, with a fine of not less than GMD800,000 (about US$30, 245) and/or five to ten years of imprisonment. In addition, premises used for hoarding goods are to be appropriated by the state. Saine-Firdaus noted that the rather harsh penalties stipulated in the law were necessitated by the fact that the practice of hoarding of essential commodities by some traders in attempts to create artificial shortages in the market has caused a great deal of hardship for Gambians and put a strain on the Gambian economy. (Id.)

This law, which is said to have provisions more suited to deal with current realities than had previously been in place, repeals the 1995 Anti-Hoarding Decree. (Id.)