EYEAFRICA TV: Gambia’s foreign affairs ministry spokesperson have confirmed to Eye Africa TV on Sunday that two officials of the ministry were arrested on Friday for their alleged involvement in issuing national diplomatic passports to individuals.
Saikou Ceesay said three of the ministry officials are involved in the alleged fraud but the third person, who traveled outside the country before the incident was unfolded is still at large. He said the arrested two officials are currently helping the police in their investigation.
Illegal issuing of national documents such as part port is treated as criminal offence under The Gambian constitution but the act continues to persist with very few being prosecuted. If the alleged officials are charged before the court, their charges will include fraud.
Police spokesperson, assistant superintendent Lamin Njie said he could not yet confirm the accuracy of the matter but has sent information to reliable offices to authenticate it.
In the past, several individuals have been arrested and arraigned before the court on charges of fraudulent issuing of national documents to individuals. In September 2011, a man was charged before a lower court in Kanifing on a charge of receiving monies from people on the pretext that he would provide national passports to them.
Buba Sagnia, former director general of immigration while he was deputy director in January 2009, said cases of passport fraud are a global phenomenon that can only be tackled through collective involvement of all citizens.
His statement was in response to a debate that was sparked by a letter published on the now shutdown pro-government Daily Observer newspaper, sent by one Gibril Badgie, a Gambian student studying in Indonesia.
Mr. Badjie expressed concern over incidents in Indonesia where alleged fraudsters had been arrested with Gambian passport in their possession. Mr. Sanyang admitted that could be true, but said it is one thing to see a passport that looks like one from a particular country, but a different issue altogether to authenticate such document.