Archive for Gambia
The Gambian Embassy in London was accused of smuggling cigarettes and expensive alcohols into the UK through diplomatic pouches. Diplomatic pouches are usually not subjected to searches. It has been gathered that the UK Foreign office has given waiver to all Embassies and Foreign Consulates accredited to the UK to be able to import limited amount of cigarettes and alcohol beverages for staff entertainment purposes, but it appears that the Gambian government has been abusing the tobacco and alcohol duty free privilege accorded to them by the British government. For seven consecutive years, some rogue Gambian diplomats hiding under the cover of “diplomatic impunity” have been allegedly smuggling large consignment of cigarettes and alcohol into the UK through diplomatic pouches. The matter later came to the attention of the UK intelligence services, who according to sources initiated an undercover operation sting to bust those behind the cigarette trade. This investigation went on for 7 years until this year when the British finally raided the Embassy in an attempt to arrest everyone. But because of diplomatic Immunity, they had trouble executing an arrest. Five embassy officials were waived their diplomatic immunity. They together with their British counterpart were detained for 3 days back in November and are due in court this coming March.
The Republic of China will shut down its embassy and technical mission in Gambia now that the two countries have severed diplomatic relations, Foreign Minister David Lin said Monday. Vice Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Shih announced the termination of diplomatic ties with The Gambia with immediate effect at a news conference earlier in the day. The announcement came three days after Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s office issued a statement saying that the country would cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
France is to close its Embassy in Banjul effective 1st November 2013 as part of a “worldwide adaptation of its diplomatic networks and to adapt to the times and finances”, a senior French government official has told The Point. Laurent Viguie, deputy director for West Africa at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told The Point that the change is not radical, but mainly to adapt with the departure of Jean Marc Transon, the charge d’affaires at the French Embassy in Banjul, who will be retiring at the end of September. “It is a worldwide adaptation of our diplomatic networks. The current Minister of Foreign Affairs started this a year back, to adapt to the times and the finances. “Times are difficult, and we need to adapt our worldwide coverage of our diplomatic mission. We are closing four offices in Africa and 13 worldwide. Elsewhere also we are reducing the number of staff,” he stated. According to the French official, apart from The Gambia, other countries affected are Sierra Leone, Malawi and Sao Tome.
The United States Embassy in the tiny West African state of The Gambia has been ordered by the authorities there to close down on Fridays. This follows a dramatic announcement two weeks ago by President Yahya Jammeh that all government institutions will from 1 February 2013 work a four-day week. The announcement indicated that the previous official working hours will be extended with civil servants and other government-linked employees working from 8am to 6pm Monday to Thursday, when the order comes into effect on February 1. There has been an assumption by the diplomatic, private and non-government sectors that the order does not apply to them. The order was delivered to the US Ambassador Edward Alford by Gambia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Susan Wafaa Ogoo. In a telephone conversation, Minister Ogoo made it known to Ambassador Alford that the government of The Gambia will not tolerate any organization or business within the jurisdiction of the country defying the presidential order.
The consular officer at the United States Embassy in The Gambia has rubbished and described as ‘fake’ the conception by certain individuals and businesses operating in the country, that are allegedly misleading visa applicants that they can secure them visa without their personal presence at the embassy for the normal procedure. US Embassy said there are lots of businesses around town trying to help people with visas, and made it clear that these businesses are not officially connected to the embassy and they don’t have any relationship with them. “If they are telling you that they are officially connected to the embassy or they have business relations with the embassy, it is not true. If someone is asking anyone a lot more money for a visa, it may be a scam. The legitimate businesses will only charge a fee to help applicants complete their visa applications but getting a visa is up to the applicant. Therefore, securing a visa is up to the applicant and not through such businesses,” according to the embassy. Asked if the application fee has been increased, the US consular officer replied in the negative, saying the application fee is US$140 for most visa applications and it does go up and down slightly due to the exchange rate but has always been the same for the past years. He said that despite the sum, the same number of applicants is being received on daily basis. “The number of applications has been very steady over the past few years. We haven’t seen large increase or large decrease, though in 2011 we did see slightly few applicants than in 2010,” he further stated.
The government of tiny Gambia says it wants the Libyan ambassador loyal to Moammar Gadhafi to leave and is declaring its support for the Benghazi-based rebel council. A government statement gave the Libyan ambassador and embassy staff 72 hours to leaveGambia. The government also says it’s freezing or closing all assets held inGambiaby Gadhafi’s government. Those include two five-star hotels and an amusement park, and represent a large investment in the West African nation that is surrounded bySenegal.Gambiasays its decision was prompted by “the heinous atrocities that are being carried out by the Gadhafi regime against innocent citizens.”Libya’s embassy inBanjuldeclined comment.
Senior magistrate Abdoulie Mbacke of the Kanifing Magistrates Court convicted and sentenced one Jaja Faal to three years at old Jeshwang prison. The accused person broke and entered into French Embassy house in Cape Point, and stole one mobile phone Nokia 3100.