The Gambia Immigration Department And The Failed Recruitment Of Assan Faal!
Two very serious and embarrassing happenings or should I say scandals capitivated my attention these two weeks, and I’m sure I’m not alone. I want to dwell on both scandals one after the other. Further, I will give my personal thoughts and opinoin on why and how such a breach in work ethics and protocol standard occur in a transparent and accountable government and system.
Let me begin with the visa corruption scandal at the Gambia Immigration Department where some officials failed to account for more than a million dalasi visa fees from a Dutuch cruise ship with visiting tourists. What transpired, according to reliable sources, is that monies collected for the purpose of entry visa fees to the Gambian soil were diverted for personal benefits. The large bulk of the money — more than a million dalasi — was sliced among some senior and junior immigration officials. There is no need mentioning who is who in the said scandal and how much each was given in the nasty deal. I believe that is the responsibility of the investigative authorities as one is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. What is however heartbreaking and disappointing is the act itself which is nothing more than stealing from the State and the poor Gambian people. One thing is clear and obvious is that this immigration theft is not an isolated case. It is certainly not an individual event either. Instead it is something deeply rooted in the system. Somehow thanks to the new democracy and the New Gambia things can today come out to the surface. What is important now is what happens next? We are now aware with clear evidence (caught red handed) unlike before when corrupt officials and thieves within our immigration department (Seaport, Airport and Land) enjoy cover. These corrupt officials and thieves have to be flushed out of the system and face the brute force of the law. Period. The time is now and with urgency that we make it clear to our government officials particularly those in the civil service that enough is enough. We are not going to tolarate any more rampant and delibrate theft and corruption in the new despensation. There will and shall never be business as usual hence any ethical misbehavior by any official will have severe consiquencies. Now is the time we engage ourselves in self-trial and be self-critical. By doing so, we will come to the point where we will understand that taking something that belongs to all is fraud, and that it is ethically and morally indefendable. A heavy and severe price should be paid when anyone is caugh engaging in corruption activities, no matter who that person happens to be. The government should impose a zero tolorance on official corruption and the Anti-Corruption Department should not be toothless as it is today. Until then the ball is in the court of the ministries of Tourism and Interior. They have the explaination on how this could happen and how long it has been happening. Anything short of that in the final investigation report will be a mockery to the public.
On the failed recruitment of Assan Faal the former Ex-GEIPA (Gambia Export and Invesment Promotion Agency) chief who tricks the whole government with bogus university degrees and claiming to have Wall-Street competence, knowledge and expertise. Mr. Faal an Ohio, USA flea market (Lumo) vendor claimed to be a former alumni of many prestigious universities in the US. The truth that eventually came out is that Mr. Faal has never attended a university in the US, let alone a degree or attained Wall-Street conmpetence. The problem here is with Mr. Assan Faal for not being honest to himself and his country. Instead his personal selfish interest was more important to him. Mr. Faal’s likes are what we call wolf in sheep’s clothing. The biggest blunder of Mr. Faal’s recruitment falls squarely on those government employees who employed an empty barrell. A point in mind is the ministry of trade as GEIPA is under its juridiction.
Mr. Faal can never have been appointed through merits as GEIPA CEO because he certainly and openly failed the qualification requirments. How did he then come to GEIPA as the CEO of that vital institution? It has to be in the form of old behavior business as usual “who you know and where you come from” instead of equal opportunity for all through open application tender.
This system of executing business is what Gambians fought hard to discourage and instead give equal opportunity to every Gambian dispite ones affiliation or contacts. All government appointments should be transparent and open for apply to all those who are qualified and have merits. GEIPA would have been a fail institution should Mr. Faal had continued as the CEO who in esssence had no clue in global
investment and promotion. Mr. Faal was able to fool and outsmart the system with full salary for more than a year before he was disclosed with pants down. The losers in this embarassing, unethical incident is the taxpayers who paid for the unlawful salary of Mr. Faal which to me should have been fully recovered.
There is an urgent need for proper hiring of government officials so as to avoid such damning errors in recruiting. If we are to succeed as a viable nation it is important that we have the right people at the right places. It is not late, we can do it now before it too late.
Thank you and may God keep Blessing the Gambia and her people.