Coalition Media Officer defends Justice Minister on diplomatic passport bid

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EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Media officer of the eight-party coalition that brought President Adama Barrow to power in the 2016 election has defended Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambedou in his diplomatic passport application for five of his family members.

Essa Dampha told Eye Africa TV Good Morning Africa show on Wednesday that Mr. Tambedou has ministerial privileges that justifies his request for the country’s most prestigious travel documents.

Last week, a leaked letter with the seal of the Justice Ministry obtained by Eye Africa TV showed Mr. Tambadou’s application for diplomatic passports for family members, including mother, wife and sister.

A response letter from State House was also seen approving the application which led to public reactions with some calling for his unconditional resignation.

Mr. Dampha also told the Good Morning Africa show that it is appropriate for the Justice Minister to provide diplomatic passports to members of his family, but a contributor on the show criticised the act as abuse of office. He said diplomatic passports should only be given to persons who serve the interest of the country.

“The law has not stated that only people in the office should have a diplomatic passport,” Mr Dampha said, after which a caller who identified himself as Babucarr reacted, “if corruption is not eradicated in this country, peace will not prevail, (noting that) diplomatic passport should not be given based on tribe or relation.”

Government has said that investigations into issuance of diplomatic passport has begun leading to several arrests.
Our guest however, said that although the minister was called for questioning, no charge has been pronounced against him since the issue came into public spotlight.

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