Gambian-Lebanese businessman has denied trafficking in person charges brought against him in court.
Mohamed Ali Raif Fneiche, Sulayman Bojang, Momodou Bojang and Alasan Jallow were accused of conspiring to recruit 19 Gambian girls for the purpose of exploitation. Only Momodou Bojang appeared before Magistrate Samsideen Conteh of Banjul. He was granted bail in the sum of D250,000. The case was adjourned indefinitely, with the prosecution applying for bench warrant to be issued against other accused persons.
But the principal accused has denied the story in totality. “I don’t know how this accusation of prostitution came. It’s not true and I am speaking so truth be known,” Mr. Fneiche told Kairo News. “All these girls came through international airport; no one forced them to travel. Also according to government labour and immigration requirement, they have to sign a contract with their employers,” he said.
“This story started since 2012 when I brought one woman [daughter of Momodou Bojang, one of the accused persons] to help my wife here in Lebanon. Since then many of these girls want to work as domestic workers in Lebanon. I have since facilitated the travel of more than 50 girls. The girls asked me to bring them here that’s why I brought them. That’s all I have done,” he said, insisting he had no personal beef with the girls.
Mr. Fneiche said all he knew was that five girls “created their own problems in 2014. They left their wok and visited Gambian consular who advised them to stay and work which is better for them. They wanted to go back but what they fail to understand is that they came here on contract which is binding. The girls also met some Gambian officials who left them here. These disgruntled girls are still working in Lebanon.
“If the story of exploitation or prostitution is true, why are these girls still working in Lebanon. It’s against the law in Lebanon to bring girls here for prostitution. Lebanese law forbids these girls to go out by themselves at night.”
Mr. Fneiche is worried about his image being soiled for wrong reasons. “I have created employment opportunities for these girls. I even met these disgruntled girls more than five times and asked them to stay. I have brought in a lot of girls here whose employment package include full insurance, phone and clothing facilities.
“You can contact the girls themselves or their families in The Gambia. You will then see where the truth lies. Some of the girls who came here have left after their contract expires. They want to come back. You can even talk to the girls who cause their own problems. I am ready to do anything to clear my name. I am a very clean Gambian who has never disobeyed the law. I have my family in The Gambia. Even my name is not spelt out correctly. I don’t know where they get this story.”