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toubab1020



10041 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2019 :  12:46:48  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Monday, August 26, 2019

Two protocol officers of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad have been arrested in connection with diplomatic passport fraud and are currently helping police in their investigation, a source familiar with the matter told The Point.

A third suspect left the country about fortnight ago.

Two of the suspects were arrested on Friday and are currently helping the police in their investigations.

When contacted, the spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Saikou Ceesay, said the Ministry cannot make any further statement until investigations are completed.
Author: Bekai Njie

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/2-foreign-affairs-officers-arrested-for-passport-fraud

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

toubab1020



10041 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  09:59:22  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Police have confirmed the arrest of more individuals in connection with the diplomatic passport fraud.

On 23 August 2019, the Inspector General’s office opened an investigation into a case of diplomatic passport fraud involving three protocol officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They were: Saikou Sanneh, Ibrahim J.S. Sanneh and Ousman Touray (currently at large).

Police say on Monday that one Mansa Sumareh was also arrested in connection with the same matter, all of them allegedly helping to facilitate diplomatic passport for one Bakary Susso.

“In a similar development on the 24th August 2019 Malick Tunkara was arrested at the Airport in possession of a suspected fake diplomatic passport,” police say.

“Yankuba Susso, Amadou Touray, and Musa Njie were arrested for their involvement.”

“On 27 August 2019, Superintendent Banka Jatta and Chief Inspector Lang Tombong Sabally of the Gambia Immigration Department were invited for questioning.”

“On 30 August 2019 Michael T. Ladipo a Nigerian national was also arrested in connection with the case.”

Meanwhile investigations continue.

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/fresh-arrests-over-diplomatic-passport-fraud

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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Momodou



Denmark
9381 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  11:08:40  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Opinion by Karamba Touray

How can a driver at statehouse be issued a diplomatic passport, admit to escorting another ineligible pursuer of a diplomatic passport to the foreign ministry to “ guide him on the process and ways of acquiring “ our nation’s highest level travel document and still be allowed to go home and give cheeky interviews taunting the Office of the President ? He is not entitled to a diplomatic passport and conspiring with others for the sole purpose of fraudulently acquiring the document for a similarly ineligible individual is a very serious criminal offense regardless of whether his motivation was financial or not . He and all other culprits should be charged and prosecuted. And what has been the reaction of his employers at StateHouse ? A weird and nonsensical press statement that attempted to split hairs and hide behind vague language that the President’s self described driver is not really his driver and floating the possibility that he might be an employee of another sort Incase it becomes public that he is still on government payroll. What kind of a situation are we in where a freaking driver can be accused of a serious crime regarding a document that requires Presidential approval and all we get is a tepid and lousy statement from the Presidency which the accused publicly and condescendingly dismissed as being untrue and contravening his purported firing ? How can this happen ? A driver disputing his firing after admitting to a conspiracy to help someone get a document they were not entitled to . What kind of an operation do we have at StateHouse ?
They similarly allowed a kid fronting for some shadowy foreign business interest to fly in from Spain and go straight to StateHouse and pitch them a con that the entire Gambia government cabinet should be flown to Barcelona along with musicians and wrestlers as well as other hangers on to discuss the NDP. What kind of a rational being would entertain such a patently silly idea coming from a stranger who simply smooth talked his way to the presidency and in a flash ministries were instructed to cooperate with this con . Thankfully, I expect the government to drop this Spain junket and spare the nation the expense and embarrassment of being associated with this affair . The reason all these problems are emanating from State House is that the President has created an enabling environment complete with mediocre aides , a culture of greed and dishonesty where access is trafficked like a commodity coupled with a frightening lack of understanding about how the world or a modern democracy works . We are in very big trouble because this President is incapable of recognizing just how bad things are .

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
9381 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  11:15:26  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Police arrests Senior State House protocol officer in diplomatic passport saga

http://eyeafrica.tv/4021-2/


EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: A reliable source have informed Eye Africa TV Tuesday evening that Modou Sowe, a Senior protocol officer at Gambian president’s office at State House, have been arrested by police in connection with illegal issuing of diplomatic passport.

Our source also confirmed that Mr. Sowe is the one responsible for diplomatic passport files at Sate House. “He is currently under police custody and will spend the night there,” one of our sources said.

Last week, foreign affairs ministry’s communication officer Saikou Ceesay confirmed the arrest of two officers of the ministry for their alleged involvement in the issuing of diplomatic passports to individuals, but neither the ministry nor the police were ready to disclose their names at the time. Three of them are said to have been involved in the saga but the third person who traveled outside of the country before the incident unfolded, is still at large.

Police later released names of the implicated officials as Saikou Sanneh, Ibrahim JS Sanneh and Ousman Touray, who is still at large. This was after Eye Africa run a story on Sunday, questioning both the police and the foreign affairs ministry on why they were protecting the names of the men.

Ebou Sillah, one of the directors at foreign affairs ministry was also said to have been questioned by the police since Tuesday morning and was later released in the evening of the same day. Our source said Mr. Sillah is ordered to be reporting to the police from Wednesday.

Our source further indicated that protocol officer Sowe is part of President Adama Barrow’s advance team that will be travelling to the United Sates on Wednesday for the UN General Assembly, but he maybe withdrawn from the trip following the implication of his name in the saga.

Eye Africa TV has also been informed that names of several more immigration, foreign affairs ministry and State House officers are being linked to the passport saga, but our source could not disclose their names as the matter is premature.

From a separate source, we were also informed that most of the diplomatic passports are not printed by The Gambia Immigration, but those responsible would usually award the contract to to a Nigerian partner on the excuse that the the printer at the immigration department was faulty.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
9381 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  11:45:37  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Suspects in Passport Scandal Released on Bail

Foroyaa: September 4, 2019

By Mustapha Jallow

https://foroyaa.gm/suspects-in-passport-scandal-released-on-bail/

Gambian Police spokesman on Tuesday, confirmed to this medium that the nine persons who were recently arrested and detained in connection with alleged diplomatic passport scandal have been released on bail.

The Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP Lamin Njie couldn’t establish the date and time when these detainees were released, but can confirm that they were bailed after being held briefly.

So far, no charges have been pressed against the suspects, but Police are still investigating the matter, he said. The suspects are also asked to be reporting on bail at the Police headquarters in Banjul.

“One of the detainees was bailed last night,’’ added Police PRO.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
9381 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  13:39:52  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
STATE HOUSE DRIVER EXPLAINS ENCOUNTER WITH POLICE

The Standard: September 3, 2019
By Omar Bah
& Amadou Jadama

https://standard.gm/state-house-driver-explains-encounter-with-police/

Mansa Sumareh, a State House driver who used to drive President Barrow and was recently questioned by police over the raging diplomatic passport scandal, has told The Standard that even though he was taken in by the police, he has not been found to have done anything wrong.

“The police called me in and said they have arrested one person at the Foreign Affairs whiles another is on the run.

They also told me they have set up a panel to investigate passport scandal at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The police informed me that a particular passport was seized by the Immigration and taken to the Foreign Affairs where it was later realised that it was issued to the holder by one Ebrima Sanneh and others who have run away,” Mansa said.

He said the police informed him that the signatures on the passports were from State House but the way they were obtained was mysterious.

“I told them as far as I am concerned, I have no mandate to issue passports; that is not part of my job.

The police also called protocol officers at State House for questioning and they informed the police that the protocols at Foreign Affairs often forge their signatures to issue diplomatic passports to people,” Mansa told The Standard.

He further explained however that the person whom they seized the passport from had once approached him, claiming he had brought some investors to the country but he wanted a diplomatic passport.

“I showed him all the right channels and advised him to follow the right channels to reach Foreign Affairs.

“In fact I personally took him to a director at Foreign Affairs who informed us that such process takes time; a procedure which can be very long and rigid.

But when the man returned again, he went to Foreign Affairs himself and was issued a diplomatic passport by some junior staff at the Ministry. This is the passport seized from him by the Immigration Department who took him to the police,” Mansa said.

He went on: “So when the police asked me whether I was the one who introduced the guy to the Foreign Affairs Ministry staff, I said no and Foreign Affairs too did not mention my name.

But the guy later told the police that he had given me money last year.

But thank God the guy who directed him to me came to the police and cleared me and was released.

So really my name is cleared when it comes to the issue of the passport.

“The guy who was issued the passport has since been released though his passport has been seized.”

Meanwhile Mansa has flatly denied claims that he was no longer working at State House.

“I am still working at State House.

In fact, it was only day before yesterday that I received my salary.

Whoever said I am sacked is lying,” he stressed.

However, a statement from the presidency stated that Mansa no longer drives the president:
“The attention of the public is hereby drawn to a news article published in the Standard newspaper on the Monday 2nd September 2019 that erroneously described one Mansa Sumareh as ‘the President’s driver’.

For the purpose of clarity and accuracy, Mansa Sumareh is neither the Chief Driver nor a driver of the president.

Mr Sumareh ceased being the Chief Driver of the Head of the State since November 2018.

The office solicits your kind cooperation to correct this error immediately to avoid any more confusion on this matter.”


A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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toubab1020



10041 Posts

Posted - 05 Sep 2019 :  18:12:25  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By Mustapha Jallow September 4, 2019

Gambian Police spokesman on Tuesday, confirmed to this medium that the nine persons who were recently arrested and detained in connection with alleged diplomatic passport scandal have been released on bail.

The Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP Lamin Njie couldn’t establish the date and time when these detainees were released, but can confirm that they were bailed after being held briefly.

So far, no charges have been pressed against the suspects, but Police are still investigating the matter, he said. The suspects are also asked to be reporting on bail at the Police headquarters in Banjul.

“One of the detainees was bailed last night,’’ added Police PRO.

https://foroyaa.gm/suspects-in-passport-scandal-released-on-bail/

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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toubab1020



10041 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2019 :  16:43:06  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Praise to the Police for having the good sense to investigate and deal with those persons who (it is alleged ) to have breached the rules on the acquision of Diplomatic passports:

"So far, no charges have been pressed against the suspects, but Police are still investigating the matter, he said. The suspects are also asked to be reporting on bail at the Police headquarters in Banjul."

Again it is vital that these allegations are subjected to examination and a decision made on how to proceed.with the utmost speed in order to SWIFTLY dispose of this matter.
================================================================================================


================================================================================================
BY Madi M.K. Ceesay -
September 4, 2019
The current passport scandal is very unfortunate as this is not only a mere or ordinary passport, here we are talking of a diplomatic passports scandal. This is a very important travel document which is not given to any citizen but privilege citizens of high calibre.
The way such passports are issued is a little bit different from the issuance of an ordinary passport. As for a diplomatic passport the process goes beyond the immigrations alone. No diplomatic passport under a normal circumstances can be issued without the President appending his or signatures. And well before the process reaches that level the foreign Affairs must have a hand into it.
So one can see we are talking about a very long and rigorous process; one would have thought that before the passport holders receives this document the foreign Affairs would have done their job by properly vetting who this pass port holders or holder is. If the scrupulous people who are behind the issuance of these set of diplomatic passports as some are speculating that it is in large numbers of up to more than 50 or 150 diplomatic passports, then when it reaches the President’s desk it should be detected.
Again if it pass all he check points and even at the level of the highest office (Presidency) then something serious is happening to our government structures.
The country’s integrity is at stake and that our government should do everything to possibly clean the records. This scandal is not an ordinary scandal as it is now in the corridors of our presidency. Since the former driver of the President is called in for questioning that speaks volumes.
However President Barrow is on record of saying that the police should do their job and whoever is linked to this scandal will face the full force of the laws; that is very welcoming if and only if he sticks to that.
But this government is very good at making such very progressive statements when such a kind of thing happen. But the unfortunate side is that , they will never treat such cases with the utmost seriousness.
A case in point is the death of late Ousman Darboe, who was alleged to have been killed. Forty day after his demise no pronouncement is made by government as to the cause of his death but rather they are busy prosecuting those alleged to have destroyed properties.
One can cite one or two very important cases of this kind that happen and the positon of the government was no stones will be left upturn or government will get to the bottom of the matter . Such as the killing of a villager at Gunjur and another killing elsewhere. Up to this point in time nothing is heard of them.
It is high time that government treat such matters with utmost seriousness. When enquiries are made their findings should be made public otherwise the people who are governed will never take their government serious.
The commission’s reports which are submitted to the office of the President (Janneh Commission) must be acted on by now. These are very important reports and tax payers monies were the ones that pay the cost; so it is very important that government make the reports public knowledge as soon as possible.
Yes we know that the president has the right to hold it up to six months but what is stopping him making it earlier than the constitutional mandate?
To conclude this editorial, the Daily News team want to thank the Gambia Police Force for their competence in unrevealing this biggest sandal of the year. Thank GPF

http://dailynewsgm.com/diplomatic-passport-scandal-into-state-house-corridors/

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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Momodou



Denmark
9381 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2019 :  19:30:30  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Letter Shows Tambadou Telling State House His Mother Is A Regular Traveller Who Can’t Travel On Normal Passport Because Of Her Age

Fatu Network : September 7, 2019

By Lamin Njie

https://fatunetwork.net/letter-shows-tambadou-telling-state-house-his-mother-is-a-regular-traveller-who-cant-travel-on-normal-passport-because-of-her-age/

Abubacarr Tambadou told State House his mother was a regular traveller who could not travel on a normal passport because of her age.

The justice minister on Saturday became the first top government official to get caught up in a diplomatic passport hooha that has swept the Barrow administration in recent weeks.

A letter emerged online showing the office of the president approving a request for diplomatic passport to be issued to the justice minister’s wife, mother, step-mother and sisters.


But another letter has emerged online showing Mr Tambadou requesting that his mother, step-mother, wife and two sisters be issued diplomatic passport.

The justice minister said in his letter to the secretary general: “My mother and step mother regularly travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj.

“Given their advance age and current state of physical health, travelling on ordinary passports create immense physical and logistical challenges for them especially regarding their movements on arrival and departure from the airport.

“These challenges could be significantly reduced if they travel on diplomatic passports which entitles them to certain diplomatic privileges and eases their conditions during hajj.”

The justice minister went further to say in the letter which was written on 6 June 2019 that, “on each of their travels to Saudi Arabia, my mother and step-mother assisted by my two sisters who always accompany them during their movements.”

“My sisters would not be able to provide the usual assistance to my mother and step-mother if they also do not carry diplomatic passports to facilitate their movements together with them,” the justice minister added.

One week later on 13 June, Lamin E Kanyi of the office of the president wrote to the permanent secretary at the ministry of foreign affairs and the justice minister himself informing them about the approval of the request.

According to Lamin E Kanyi, Abi Tambadou, Mariama Aziz Tambadou, Mariama Tambadou, Haddyjatou Marie Tambadou Faal and Rougui Aly Kebe have all been cleared to hold diplomatic passport.

But Gambian Facebook users have reacted angrily as soon as the letter came out with most asking in what capacity these individuals were issued such passport.

Gaye Biran said: “I’m baffle by the above-mentioned names associated with the minister of justice family. I would like the minister to explain in what capacity was these people issue with such a passport and what interest are they contributing to the Government of the day.”

Caira Grey-Johnson on her part asked: “Diplomatic passports for them on what merit????”

Muhammed Bah said: “For me to believe our National Assembly is really functional: they will call Hon. Ba Tembadou for questioning on Monday.”

Modou ML Jabbi said: “Diplomatic Passport request for Ba Tambedou, his mother, step mother, two sisters and wife. Barrow will be worst than Yaya Jammeh.”

Mr Tambadou declined to comment on the issue when contacted by The Fatu Network on Saturday.

A former minister in the Jammeh government told The Fatu Network on Saturday it was ‘impossible’ under Jammeh for a minister to ‘use his position to have his wife hold a diplomatic passport.’

A former secretary general and head of the civil service also told The Fatu Network no ‘minister dared to write’ to former President Jammeh asking for his approval to have their wives hold diplomatic passport.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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toubab1020



10041 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2019 :  11:29:25  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I feel that the above posting (if accurate ) shows that a NEW POLITICAL CLASS is developing in the Administration of the government of NEW GAMBIA.


"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 08 Sep 2019 11:55:53
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toubab1020



10041 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2019 :  12:06:47  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR OF THE STANDARD NEWSPAPER.
September 5, 2019
======================================================================================================
Dear editor,
How can a driver at State House be issued a diplomatic passport, admit to escorting another ineligible pursuer of a diplomatic passport to the foreign ministry to “ guide him on the process and ways of acquiring “ our nation’s highest level travel document and still be allowed to go home and give cheeky interviews taunting the Office of the President ? He is not entitled to a diplomatic passport and conspiring with others for the sole purpose of fraudulently acquiring the document for a similarly ineligible individual is a very serious criminal offense regardless of whether his motivation was financial or not .

He and all other culprits should be charged and prosecuted.

And what has been the reaction of his employers at State House ? A weird and nonsensical press statement that attempted to split hairs and hide behind vague language that the President’s self described driver is not really his driver and floating the possibility that he might be an employee of another sort incase it becomes public that he is still on government payroll.

What kind of a situation are we in where a freaking driver can be accused of a serious crime regarding a document that requires Presidential approval and all we get is a tepid and lousy statement from the Presidency which the accused publicly and condescendingly dismissed as being untrue and contravening his purported firing ? How can this happen ? A driver disputing his firing after admitting to a conspiracy to help someone get a document they were not entitled to .

What kind of an operation do we have at State House ?
They similarly allowed a kid fronting for some shadowy foreign business interest to fly in from Spain and go straight to State House and pitch them a story that the entire Gambia government cabinet should be flown to Barcelona along with musicians and wrestlers as well as other hangers on to discuss the NDP.

What kind of a rational being would entertain such a patently silly idea coming from a stranger who simply smooth talked his way to the presidency and in a flash ministries were instructed to cooperate with this story .

Thankfully, I expect the government to drop this Spain junket and spare the nation the expense and embarrassment of being associated with this affair .

The reason all these problems are emanating from State House is that the President has created an enabling environment complete with mediocre aides where access is trafficked like a commodity coupled with a frightening lack of understanding about how the world or a modern democracy works .

We are in very big trouble because this President is incapable of recognizing just how bad things are .

By Karamba Touray
USA

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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Momodou



Denmark
9381 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2019 :  15:20:13  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In light of the current Diplomatic Passport issuance controversy, especially the request and granting involving the Attorney General, Hon. Ba Tambadou, please read below the response of the AG to Omar Janneh on the saga. This was culled from Community of Gambianist Scholars listserv created by Dr Abdoulaye Saine, Dr. Ebrima Sall, and Dr. Ebrima Ceesay (Coach):

"I was advised by MOFA that the President can, exceptionally, grant approval for the issuance of diplomatic passports to individuals based on a number of considerations. I followed that advice and formally sought that approval in writing transparently which was granted. I wonder when a mere formal request for an approval for anything has become illegal or undermines anyone’s integrity to warrant a resignation? If there is any fault, and I am not saying there is, that ought to be directed at the approving authority and not the requestor. I merely asked for a privilege that I was told could be extended to a sitting cabinet minister’s family, and my request was clear about the reasons. It was the responsibility of those entrusted with such decisions to either approve or disapprove. It was approved. End of story!!!!! To now turn it around as if I have done something so wrong as to warrant my resignation from office betrays a more sinister and personal animosity. For what reasons????? I have no idea!!!!!

For Mr Janneh’s further information, my family and I DO NOT need a diplomatic passport to travel around the world. We have been doing so in the past and we will continue to do so after my services with Government ends someday soon inshallah.

It is disappointing that instead of focusing on the more serious issue of the unlawful sale of passports, we are expending our intellectual energy on a very legitimate request with a legitimate approval from legitimate Government officials. It is petty and low and but for the fact that it was sent on a shared platform, I would not have dignified such comments with a response. The fact that I only sought the passports two and a half years after my appointment tells its own story for those who care about the truth.

Let me assure Mr Janneh and others of one thing, you can dive to the bottom of the ocean to search but you will never find anything that will stain me. I was before, and inshallah, I shall be after!!!!!"

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
9381 Posts

Posted - 09 Sep 2019 :  12:32:57  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gambia Government Makes Significant Progress in Diplomatic Passport Investigations

Banjul, The Gambia—Following intense investigations into allegations of fraudulent procurement and acquisition of Gambian Diplomatic Passports, The Gambia Government working with our international partners, is pleased to report the arrest of several people in Germany who are currently providing pivotal information to the authorities. Similar arrests of culprits in The Gambia have also, yielded significant leads into this vast and sophisticated criminal network that risks damaging the good reputation of our peaceful and law-abiding country.

Ever since news of the Diplomatic Passports emerged, Government quickly established a Task Force comprising officials of The Gambia Police Force, Immigration Department and the State Intelligence Services(SIS) to adequately probe the matter and prosecute all those found complicit in the sale, procurement, manufacture and illegal acquisition of The Gambia’s Diplomatic Passports. The Task Force will also, conduct a complete inventory of all Diplomatic Passports issued since 2016 with verifications of all their holders’ profiles.

Thus far, over a dozen citizens and non-citizens have been apprehended and as the investigations widen, numerous more suspects may either be arrested or be called in for questioning to help the Task Force shatter this criminal cabal and restore sanity in the entire process. Members of the public are urged to fully cooperate with investigators and where possible, to provide crucial information that may be helpful to the Task Force.

Under Gambian law, the issuing of Diplomatic Passports rests exclusively with the Presidency and those that acquired their passports legitimately by using the established procedural channels are not the subject of this criminal inquiry. The probe targets those who knowingly acted illegally by falsifying documents, aiding and abetting in the sale, procurement and acquisition of this precious national document for all the wrong reasons.

President Adama Barrow as the singular Approving Authority of Diplomatic Passports has instructed a full, swift and comprehensive investigation to break the neck of the criminal cabal bent on tarnishing the good image of The Gambia. Mr Barrow has made it categorically clear that “there will be no sacred cows; no one will be spared in these investigations regardless of ones position and all those found wanting, will face the full extent of the law”.

Therefore, conscious of the gravity of the situation and its potential ramifications vis-a-vis The Gambia’s international obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), will soon convene a meeting with members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps to immediately address this and similar pressing issues.

Signed:

Ebrima G. Sankareh

The Gambia Government Spokesperson

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
9381 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2019 :  15:09:29  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The diplomatic passport saga


Dr. Ousman Gajigo


http://www.kerr-fatou.com/the-diplomatic-passport-saga

The Gambia has been abuzz with the scandal of a large number of individuals with diplomatic passports who have no need for this privileged document. These include assorted individuals such as foreigners, as well as some officials of the Barrow Youth Movement (BYM). Also featuring quite prominently are the relatives of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Tambadou, who successful requested diplomatic passports for his wife, mother, stepmother and two sisters.

Criminal proceedings may ensnare a few low-ranking individuals, and this is where the government is trying to divert our attention to. However, equally or more important are issues that are not related to law-breaking but rather expose improper behaviors that are morally or ethically dubious. It is important to clearly delineate these issues.

If certain individuals violated the law through forgeries or impersonated officials, they should face the consequences by all means. What is also equally important for fruitful national discourse is the issue of officials misusing public resources even if a specific law does not prevent such activities. This is where the issue of the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice comes in. A key question is whether it was appropriate for Mr. Tambadou to seek these privileges for his relatives. In other words, does he have a compelling reason to seek these privileges for his family members for reasons that are essential for him to carry out his official responsibilities?

Let’s assess Mr. Tambadou’s own stated reasons for the need for the diplomatic passports. He argued in his letter that he needed the diplomatic passports for the comfort of his relatives for their annual pilgrimage. This stated reason has nothing to with Mr. Tambadou’s or any official discharging their duties more efficiently. In other words, the basis on which he got these documents can be requested by any ordinary Gambian yet the vast majority of us do not have the privilege to access this document. He simply requested a privilege due to his existing privilege as a key government official because no law explicitly prevents him from doing so.

A diplomatic passport for a spouse can be defended because there can be scenarios where a spouse needs to accompany a minister to an official function. In such a case, it would make sense for both the Minister and the spouse to travel on diplomatic passports. But to request diplomatic passports for relatives whose travels have nothing to do with official duties of the minister is to abuse a privilege. While there may be nothing in the law to explicitly prohibit him from making a request for such a privilege, the absence of a statutory prohibition does not free an individual from the obligation to act responsibly. In other words, we should expect our officials to consider themselves bound not only by the law, but also by ethics. Rampant abuse of privileges should not be a new normal.

It is important to point out the key problems here but it is easy for people to be distracted by focusing too much on whether any laws were broken or hairsplitting on of a particular letter. There is no denying that the president has the power to authorize the issuing of diplomatic passport, according to standard practice. But just because the president has the power to do so does not preclude the official concerned from having the integrity in making sure his request is well justified. It is also does not preclude the president from determining that a particular request is not well justified and inconsistent with the spirit of which those special privileges were created.

This saga also illuminates many troubling problems in the way this Barrow government operates. After all, it was not only Mr. Tambadou’s relatives who were issued diplomatic passports but many others such as the member of the BYM who should not have been. It means established procedures for accessing and issuing these official documents are not respected. It also means that either there is no system of control to track and verify authorizations from the State House or that there is an abuse in the authorization itself.

This breakdown in process and procedures may nor may not be willful but it does not matter. After all, this very Barrow government made a big deal in 2017 of announcing that it was cancelling about 270 diplomatic passports that were wrongly issued by the Jammeh regime to individuals and their families. Yet this regime either is unwilling or unable to reform a broken system that it has long since recognized as a problem.

It is important to reiterate that this issue concerning the Attorney General is not separate from the issue of sale of passports as government officials would like us to believe. Both issues are the direct result of a broken system on top of which sits President Barrow and Mr. Tambadou. At the end of the day, the roles of a Statehouse driver or that of junior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are only minor details.

The real responsibility lies at the top. Due to the hierarchy of the positions, the president’s responsibility is higher than that of the Attorney General but that does not absolve the latter. Yes, Mr. Tambadou “only” made a request and the president approved, but the former knows better than anyone what is a proper request and what is not. After all, the attorney general is the chief legal advisor to the president. If he is the source of ethically dubious behaviors rather than providing sound counsel to the president, he is unfit for the position he holds.

Ousman Gajigo is an economist. He has held positions with the African Development Bank, the UN, the World Bank and Columbia University. He holds a PhD in development economics. He is currently an international consultant and also runs a farm in The Gambia.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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toubab1020



10041 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2019 :  15:36:37  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The whole of this affair has highlighted that it is an ingrained culture of those who have been accepted as a menber of,THE POLITICAL ELITE,it is only fair to note that this class in inherent in ALL COUNTRIES of the world and from under which political system is in governed from the extreme RIGHT to the extreme LEFT.
That 's the way politics works. (in my opinion)

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 10 Sep 2019 15:43:23
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Momodou



Denmark
9381 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2019 :  13:58:33  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Foreign Affairs State Who Is Entitled To Diplomatic Passport

Foroyaa: September 11, 2019

By Momodou Jarju

https://foroyaa.gm/foreign-affairs-state-who-is-entitled-to-diplomatic-passport/

The communications officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Saikou Ceesay, has told Foroyaa the persons who are entitled to diplomatic passports in The Gambia.

Speaking in an exclusive interview at his office yesterday, he said the minister of Foreign Affairs outlined the following people to be eligible to acquire diplomatic passport: The President and his family, cabinet ministers and their spouses, permanent secretaries, director generals or managing directors of parastatal, foreign affairs ministry staff from permanent secretary to second secretary, staff of Gambia embassies with their families, and Gambians in international organisations occupying positions which qualify them for diplomatic status.

Apart from the abovementioned, Mr. Ceesay said the President of the Republic of The Gambia can decide to give diplomatic passport to any Gambian.

Commenting on the procedural channels a person has to take in acquiring a diplomatic passport, Mr. Ceesay said the individual has to write and apply to the ministry of foreign affairs who will make background checks and vet the applicant.

He said thereafter, the ministry would write to the office of the president on eligibility or otherwise of the applicant.

“The ministry of foreign affairs would write and advise the presidency on whether the applicant is qualified to possess the diplomatic passport or not,” he said.

Speaking further, Mr. Ceesay said even if a person wants to renew a diplomatic passport, he or she would have to write and apply and submit the expired diplomatic passport he or she has.

“We will do our vetting at the ministry, then advise the presidency as to whether the renewal is necessary or not,” he explained.

Regarding the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubacarr Tambadou, Mr Ceesay revealed that he did not apply for diplomatic passport through their ministry.

He said Minister Tambadou sent a letter to the Office of the President (OP) and the letter was approved. Thereafter, he said OP sent the letter to the ministry.

Mr. Ceesay said that is the only thing they know and cannot make further comments.

The diplomatic passport scandal surfaced in late August 2019 and since then Gambians are outraged about the matter.

Minister Tambadou’s application for diplomatic passport caused heated reaction on social media in particular.

In the leaked letter of the minister to the president, Tambadou applied for diplomatic passports for his mother, step-mother and two sisters.

This reporter visited the ministry of justice for comment by Minister Tambadou, but he was not in.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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