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Gambia’s Diplomatic Disarray: Deputy Ambassador Refuses to Vacate Post, Hon. Jarjou Accused of ‘Conspiracy’ in Mauritania

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Hon. Saikouba Jarjue, First Secretary at Gambian Embassy in Mauritania.

By Landing Ceesay 

In recent months, Gambia’s diplomatic missions in various countries have been embroiled in controversy.

The most recent disruption occurred at the Gambia’s Diplomatic Mission in Cuba, where Ambassador Sheikh Tijan Hydara and his Deputy Head of Mission Vincent Mendy were accused of misconduct and reportedly engaged in a physical altercation at the Embassy.

On February 27, 2024, local media reported that Salimatou Touray, Secretary-General of the Office of the President, led a high-level investigative team to Cuba to probe these allegations.

On February 29, 2024, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, and Gambians Abroad of The Republic of The Gambia declared the recall of Ambassador Shiekh Tijan Hydara and Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Vincent Mendy, from their respective roles at the Gambian Embassy in Havana, Cuba.

Subsequently, on April 21, 2024, an insider at the Gambian Embassy in Mauritania informed Kerr Fatou that former National Assembly Member for Busumbala Constituency, Hon. Saikouba Jarjou, is plotting with Ambassador Sheikh Omar Faye, Former Minister of Defense, to oust Jerreh Jammeh, Deputy Ambassador of the Embassy, from his position.

After his defeat in the 2022 Parliamentary Elections, Hon. Saikouba Jarjou was appointed by His Excellency Adama Barrow as the First Secretary at the Gambian Embassy in Mauritania on August 22, 2022.

Hon. Jarjou assumed his duties on September 20, 2022, in Mauritania.

The insider also disclosed that Hon. Saikouba Jarjou has been undermining the efforts of Deputy Ambassador Jerreh Jammeh since his arrival at the Gambian Embassy in Mauritania.

“Saikouba and others disintegrated the Foreign Ministry by reporting the then Permanent Secretary Saffie Sankareh and Co to the President of sabotaging the President’s order, which led to their deployment to other departments,” the insider revealed. 

The informant stated that on January 10, 2024, President Barrow met with the Gambian community in Mauritania, offering a contribution of five thousand dollars ($5000) toward their welfare.

The same source revealed that on January 22, 2024, a management gathering was held at the Ambassador’s Office to deliberate on the allocation of the funds and arrange for their transfer to community leaders.

The attendees of the meeting, as disclosed by the informant, included Ambassador Sheikh Omar Faye, Deputy Ambassador Jerreh Jammeh, Consular Saikouba Jarju, and Finance Officer Aminata Saidy.

“In that meeting, the Deputy Ambassador disclosed to them that he spent the money on urgent family matters but promised to pay back the money as soon he came back from the Gambia which they all agreed to. The Deputy Ambassador and consular were granted permission to attend the first-ever NPP Diaspora Gala Dinner in the Gambia slated on the 26th January 2024,” Insider revealed. 

According to an insider, Hon. Jarjou reportedly informed the State House that the funds allocated to them were utilized by Deputy Ambassador Jerreh Jammeh. The insider claimed that Hon. Jarjou desires the removal of the Deputy Ambassador to pave the way for his own appointment, hence his disclosure to the State House regarding the expenditure of the funds.

“Upon arrival from the Gambia, a meeting was held in the Ambassador’s residence with the community leaders on Sunday 18th February 2024 for the handover of the $5000 to the community. Speeches were made by all praising and thanking the President for his generosity. The much talk about $5000 was shown to us by Saikouba,” the insider revealed. 

According to a source familiar with the matter, funds were dispersed within the Gambian community in Mauritania. The source mentioned that a prominent figure within the community expressed dismay regarding accusations directed at Deputy Ambassador Jerreh Jammeh for misappropriating their funds.

Further revelations from the insider disclosed that despite widespread concern, all personnel at the Gambian Embassy remained silent. However, Hon. Saikouba Jarjou broke the silence by stating they were unable to provide comments on the matter.

Moreover, the informant alleged that Hon. Saikouba Jarjou persistently pursued Deputy Ambassador Jerreh Jammeh’s position by frequently visiting both the state House and the Foreign Ministry.

“He (Hon. Saikouba Jarjou) went further to author a damming report tarnishing this man’s (Jerreh Jammeh) reputation inserting in the report that Deputy Ambassador Jerreh Jammeh is incompetent and never cooperating with his staff, an allegation which he knows to be untrue,” the insider told Kerr Fatou.  

The source additionally informed Kerr Fatou that on April 12, 2024, the day after Eid prayers, Hon. Saikouba Jarjou made a trip to Banjul without the deputy ambassador’s approval. The informant revealed that Hon. Jarjou was observed in the hallways of both the State House and the Foreign Ministry.

“He (Hon. Saikouba Jarjou) came back on Sunday 15th April 2024 and reported to the office the following day Monday 16th April 2024. A conspiracy meeting was convened at the Ambassador’s Office, chaired by Ambassador Sheikh Omar Faye and presence were Saikouba Jarju, Jerreh Jammeh, Lamin Secka (new consular) and Foday Drammeh (new finance officer). 

“In that meeting, a purported letter claimed to come from the Foreign Ministry and signed by Ansumana Badjie was read by Ambassador Faye instructing Deputy Ambassador Jerreh Jammeh, to handover his position to Saikouba Jarju as the New Deputy Ambassador. Deputy Ambassador Jammeh requested to have a copy of the letter or even why the said letter was not addressed to him directly but instead given to Saikouba. The ambassador outright rejected his request of having a copy,” an insider told Kerr Fatou. 

The insider continued that, Ambassador Faye gave a verbal order, instructing Deputy Ambassador Jammeh to fast-track the handing over process on or before 22nd April 2024. The insider said Ambassador Faye further instructed the staff of the Embassy to consult Hon. Saikouba Jarjou in any matter of the Office regarding the Deputy Ambassador. 

“It’s interesting to note that the defiant deputy ambassador Jerreh Jammeh is not willing to hand over to Saikouba as he insists he is waiting for an official communique from the foreign ministry. Currently, all the local staff are very worried about Saikouba’s ascension to the position as he accused many of them of been UDP supporters and they feared he could be capitalizing on that claim to justify their dismissals,” Insider told Kerr Fatou. 

In response to the Allegations, Hon. Saikouba Jarjou told Kerr Fatou that all the allegations are false. 

“All the allegations are false. The guy in particular, Jerreh Jammeh was recalled 3 months ago. When you are recalled it means you have to stop the job and go. So he has been recall 3 months ago and nobody is talking about that. He was recalled because of mismanagement and it is written in the letter. To say I went to the Gambia to receive a letter on his behalf is not how institutions work. We should all understand that way. Those information are just fabrications and they just want to play with the intelligence of the masses,” Hon. Jarjou told Kerr Fatou. 

Hon. Jarjou however confirmed coming to the Gambia during the Eid but denied meeting President Barrow or any other government official. 

Hon. Jarjou stated that aside from his family, he did not have any opportunity to talk to anybody. He described the allegation of being seen at the State House to talk to the President “as a blue lie.” 

“The letter of recall was sent to the official email of the Embassy received by the Ambassador. So we were all called to inform you that a recall letter was received. They sent another email and said Lamin Secka was appointed as the First Secretary. Another letter was received that Saikouba Jarjou has been moved as Deputy Head of Mission and Head Chancery period. That’s what was disclosed to us. 

“It was disclosed to me at the same time, and at the same venue as him (Jerreh Jammeh). I thanked Allah, and he was asked whether he had anything to say, he said no and no one forced him to say anything. So that’s where we are right now. So all the allegations are not true, I have no problem with him, and he is my boss. I was working cordially with him and sometimes administratively he would try to block me. It is not the time to come and disclose all the maltreatment he has been doing to me,” Hon. Jarjou further told Kerr Fatou. 

Hon. Jarjou expressed his commitment to serving the interests of the Gambian people during his time in Mauritania, attributing all achievements to the grace of Allah. Regarding the $5,000 contribution from President Adama Barrow to the Embassy, Hon. Jarjou clarified that Deputy Ambassador Jerreh Jammeh utilized the funds without prior notification to the Embassy. Additionally, Hon. Jarjou refuted allegations suggesting his involvement in leaking information about the money to the public, asserting the falsehood of such claims.

“One, the money was given to the Ambassador and the Ambassador gave me the money and I handed the money to him. He (Jerreh Jammeh) used the money without informing us. We asked him about the money, and he responded to us so negatively and harshly. He was telling us that we should not ask him the money because he has used the money for family matters. 

“So we gave him time to go to the Gambia. He came back from the Gambia and he didn’t talk to anybody. We called him (Jerreh Jammeh) again and he said he didn’t have the money. The money was paid by the Ambassador just to calm the situation. So the people too were calm because the money was meant for the community. The money was paid by the Ambassador. He brought some amount of money, the Ambassador had to cover him (Jerreh Jammeh) up,” Hon. Jarjou revealed. 

Honorable Jarjou elaborated to Kerr Fatou that he urged the Ambassador to intervene in order to settle the financial matter concerning Deputy Ambassador Jerreh Jammeh. Jarjou conveyed to the Ambassador that although Jerreh Jammeh had utilized the funds, individuals were directing their inquiries to the Embassy rather than Jerreh Jammeh directly. It was at this juncture that the Ambassador personally refunded the amount from his own funds.

“Later, his salary was seized. Finance received his money on his behalf to refund the Ambassador’s money. But your informant will not tell you that. Jerreh himself told us that the President Called him and he told the President that he used the money. I don’t know how the President knows about it because I don’t have any contact with the President. He was recalled so long and no one is talking about it. The shock is, I am the one who is going to replace him. 

“The reason why I came to Mauritania that is what shocked this man (Jerreh Jammeh) and his informant. This is how the case went. The money was paid by the Ambassador to cover him and the name of the Embassy. But I have never talked to anybody about it, even our staff. Nobody knows where we get the money. His salary for the month was seized to recover the Ambassador’s money,” Hon. Jarjou told Kerr Fatou. 

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