The recent financial mismanagement and economic crimes by few members of the Gambia immigration department posted at seaports and the Headquarters have been disturbing and a cause for concern to all patriotic and development-oriented Gambians both home and abroad.
I will not do justice to this piece without saying bravo to Deputy Commissioner Ebou Correa and co panelists for defying Lucifer in the flesh (Buba Sagnia) by launching an impeccable and heroic investigation into this financial mess at the seaport.
I know your hands were tied and had worked under immense pressures to have you change the outcome of your investigation, but you all stood your grounds to establish the facts and nothing else. You have set the bar so high in that institution and deserve a pat on the back for a job well for seeing the country and loyalty to institutions than to worship an individual soul.
We do know that the police investigation into this Matter is also ongoing. We will monitor the outcome of that report as well. I will not pre-empt that but I know the outcome might not be too different from what had already been established by Immigration Intelligence Report.
There had been so many similar corruption schemes at the Gambia Immigration Department by some cashiers and people entrusted with state resources. These people easily get away with their dubious activities when they defraud our institutions simply because we don’t have bold and decisive leadership to sack them. Merely transferring them isn’t going to change anything. Some of the dirty to behands need prosecuted, sacked and sent to jail for their acts.
Unfortunately, some of these Grand thieves are sent to peace-keeping missions just to have a chance to pay back their stolen monies to the state. This is called aiding and abetting a criminal (a Super con helping a Grand Thief). So to me, this menace will never end unless we have firm leadership in our institutions.
I wonder what criteria is used for promotions at Gambia immigration department. It is mostly not base on merit but loyalty to superiors. Those who are hardworking and deserving have been left out for far too long while liars, deceiters, defrauders, blackmailers and theerrand boys/girls enjoy promotions.
This is why when such promoted officers try to address a crowd you feel like vomiting due to their insecurities to express themselves (gross incompetence). No kidding. If a Director, Commissioner or Superintendent speaks our writes you would want to relocate to Planet mass or get devoured by earth due to shame. So what are the essence of those big ranks/positions at Gambia immigration department? Promote people base on merit but not by ghetto/gang related affiliations.
Those who are posted in the Bush perhaps at Nyamanar, Fatoto, Jareng, Darsilameh and so many remote areas of the country are left out. These are the people who make Gambia immigration department a functioning institution by way of generating/ collecting income for the country. So why don’t you promote them but rather try frustrate them? It is sad to note that there are some of my intake mates without even a couple rank and their length of service is 14 years without no promotions. You’re simply telling that person that, “you’re underappreciated, undervalued in this institution and that could make them be corrupt or careless about the welfare of the people they served.
It’s a fact to note that some of my badge mates intake 9, (2004-2018) who have served immigration Department for 14 years now doesn’t even have a couple rank. This is not only intake 9 but all other intakes before us. How do we explain these as an institution?
We therefore need leaders who would not only count how much money they go home with at close of business but those who would reason about the common officer at the remotest immigration duty post and think of how they make ends meet on a daily basis.
It’s disheartening to see how frustrated some officers are when I visit Banjul and all they would tell you is please help me with an invitation because here is not good for me. Those on top are just going higher and higher up in ranks while the unfortunate ones keep submerging under water. This is not a good trait of progress in our institutions.
EBOU CORREA AND CO PANELISTS RECOMMENDATIONS OF IMMIGRATION SEAPORTS SCANDAL
- Officers that are to be posted to such a sensitive unit/area must be matured and long serving and or senior officer of exemplary character Who are even to be vetted before been posted.
Omar Badie to avoid overlapping. That is, to limit his function within his office and avoid interference in the administration of other offices.
Immediate transfer of all the immigration officers at the seaport with a view to avoid recurrence of such blunder.
A senior cashier who is sound minded to be posted to all the revenue offices within the Immigration.
All the monies to be recovered and paid back to the government coffers.
Disciplinary action to be taken, including as per immigration code of conduct with a view to deter others from doing same.
Deputy Commissioner, Ebou Correa
Superintendent, Musa Keita
Assistant Superintendent, Alieu Jammeh
I honestly acknowledged these recommendations but it has fallen short to include the following:-
- That Buba Sagnia, the Director General of Gambia immigration department to resign or be sent on voluntary early retirement. The justifications to this claim is that, two major Scandals happened since his coming back from exile.
Firstly, two Generals sneaked into the country from Equatorial Guinea without immigration personnel at the airport detecting them even though they were declared wanted in the country. Those involved were just moved to other locations for them to repeat another security breach.
Secondly, the infamous April scandal where few gangster criminals of Gambia immigration department tried to deprive the government of D1,302,000 but decided to squander more than half of a million Dalasis. These are probable cases for him to go rest at home because immigration department under his leadership has failed to perform its basic functions.
Thirdly, all those old and vague officers who have outlived their usefulness within the department be retired and allow young and dynamic officers to take up leadership roles.
Finally, let there be retraining of immigration officers on Zero tolerance TO BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION and any officers wanting be dealt with the full length of the law.
Ensa A.B Ceesay
Former Cadet Inspector
Gambia Immigration Department
Currently based in U.S.A