RESPONSE TO ALLEGATIONS OF POLICE CORRUPTION- Case of Mari Da Silva
Reference to a post by online Newspaper What’s On-Gambia dated Saturday 10th August with headline “Cheikh is worse than America’s R Kelly!” And Wednesday 14th August 2019 headlined “Here are the Police officers who allowed a Mauritanian paedophile to roam scot-free” written by Eddy Jatta, the Gambia Police Force hereby exercises its right to respond.
Mari Ceu Soares Da Silva, a Portuguese lady reported a case to the police in which she alleged that, her husband Cheikh Elamine, a Mauritanian national, is involved in paedophilia related activities. She submitted a memory card and flash drive containing evidence of her allegations.
Cheikh Elamine was arrested and detained while investigation was conducted with a view to prevent him from tampering with any evidence relating to the investigations. Thorough search was also conducted on the accused as well as his residence in search for further evidence.
Preliminary findings revealed that almost all the videos were downloaded from online sites, a fact admitted to, by the complainant Mari Da Silva. Two videos in which Cheikh was seen performing sex acts were subjected to further forensic examinations. The women were identified as non Gambians and place of occurrence also not in the Gambia.
Police investigations continues while the accused was granted bail in accordance with law. All evidence gathered during the investigations are secured and intact at police evidence archives contrary to informations suggesting destruction of evidence. The public is urged to come forward and give any information that maybe useful to the investigations.
The Police later received a complaint from Cheikh Elamine, that his divorced wife Maria Da Silva had illegally aborted their 17 weeks pregnancy after sending him several threatening messages that she will do so. Again investigations were conducted into the allegations against her. Maria Da Silva confessed to the police that she got rid of the pregnancy without any legal authority. She took police investigators, officers of the Gambia Fire and Rescue Services and personnel from Medical and Health to the site where the fetus was buried. The body was exhumed and she was subsequently charged with Infanticide contrary to section 197 of the criminal code laws of the Gambia. She was further charged with Conspiracy to commit a felony contrary to section 369 of the criminal code, together with Isatou Sambou who assisted her to bury the fetus.
During transfer of the case file to the Police headquarters for review and prosecution, the passport which was submitted as surety in fulfillment of conditions for police bail, got missing. The GPF officially wrote to inform Mari Da Silva and appropriate actions taken against officers involved in the missing of the document.
Contrary to claims that she escaped, the facts remained that after her discharge by the courts, the GPF took full responsibility of providing her with all relevant supporting documents to facilitate the replacement of the lost passport in accordance with requirements of laws of the Gambia as in cases of lost documents. In addition to that, the GPF also facilitated her travel to Dakar.
The Gambia Police Force has a zero tolerance policy for professional misconduct including soliciting bribes in any form. Anyone including, Mari Da Silva could come forward to the Professional Standards Unit/Complaints and Discipline Unit, and report cases of bribery, surely appropriate actions will be taken. The fact that she never did so until she left the Gambia implies such claim is indeed misleading.
We wish to remind What’s On-Gambia that, any journalist worth his/her salt should know such basic principles of objective reporting: get your facts right.
The GPF assures the public that it will continue to conduct independent investigations into all crimes and prosecute accordingly irrespective of one’s race or nationality.
Journalists and media houses are encouraged to confirm facts with our Public Relations Office.
GPF PUBLIC RELATIONS