The spokesperson of the Government, Ebrima Sankareh, has claimed that the Gambia Government has made significant progress probing into the diplomatic passport saga.
In a press release on Monday, Sankareh said already the police have apprehended over a dozen people. News broke online last week that 3 protocol officers from Gambia foreign ministry were involved in making of fake Gambian diplomatic passport. This was followed several leaks of country’s diplomatic passport, allegedly being held by unauthorised persons who are from the President’s youth movement.
Below is the entire press release:
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.
Ebrima G. Sankareh
The Gambia Government Spokesperson