Diplomatic passport scandal case proceeds

Jun 8, 2021, 12:21 PM | Article By: Alagie Baba

The diplomatic passport scandal case involving a former state house chief driver and a former protocol officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday continued before the High Court in Banjul.

Mansa Sumareh, a former State House driver and Ebrima J. Sanneh, a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been arraigned. The two are standing trial on charges of conspiracy and forgery. They are accused of conspiring between themselves to procure Gambian diplomatic passports.

Commissioner Olimatou Jammeh, the head of the diplomatic passport unit at the Gambia Immigration Department concluded her evidence in-chief before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh on Monday.

She said the letter of approval in application of one Bakary K. Suso was not accompanied by official stamp. She added that Ebrima J. Sanneh was the protocol that escorted the application.

"Superintendent Omar Fofana, the Operations Commander at my office said that it was the liaison officer responsible for service and diplomatic passports who reported to him that the approval from the Office of the President relating to Bakary Suso was missing official stamps from the Office of the President and Ministry of Foreign Affairs," Jammeh replied.

On cross-examination by Lawyer Segga Gaye, Commissioner Jammeh said Ebrima J. Sanneh’s name came in the diplomatic passport record book more than 21 times. 

“You will agree with me that the 2nd accused person is a regular visitor at your office,” Gaye questioned.

“Yes,” she said.

“You will agree with me that those visits were in accordance with his duties,” Gaye inquired.

“I agree,” she responded.

“You will agree with me that those visits were to escort applicants of diplomatic passports and to collect passports,” Gaye questioned.

“Yes,” she replied.

The witness admitted that she never called Ndey Awa Cham whose name was on the approval letter. Instead she called one Salimatou Touray who gave her opinion that she does not recognise the signature on the approval letter.

“You did not speak to Ndey Awa Cham throughout this process,” the lawyer said.

“I did not speak to Ndey Awa Cham,” she said.

“You will agree with me that the conclusion reached by Salimatou Touray from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was her mere opinion – nothing more,” the Lawyer said.

“Yes, that is her opinion,” she responded.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday, 9 June 2021.

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