RESPONSE ON MORE THAN 60% OF SIS WORKFORCE ARE ILLITERATE
The Office of Strategic Communication wishes to draw attention to your publication of 60% of NIA Officers are illiterate and state that statement is untrue. As literally speaking an illiterate is someone who cannot read and write. Applicant would write and sign before been employed, Contrary to the picture painted by Bubacarr A.M.O Badjie a renegade officer. The NIA (now SIS) has its staff graduates ranging from as Masters, Bachelors, HTC, Post Graduate Diplomas in various areas, and other skilled officers.
Having set the records straight, please allow us to most unequivocally condemn the behavior of Bubacarr A.M.O Badjie who has without respect to the demands of national security and secrecy made allegations that are untrue yet constitute violations of the official secrets and code of conduct binding on all active and serving officers of this intelligence service. Meanwhile, because of the sensitivities surrounding other matters he went on to discuss in his publication the SIS would out of consideration for professionalism and secrecy prefer not to comment on those areas.
OFFICE OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION STATE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE
On the allegation that 60% of NIAs (now SIS) are functionally illiterate who can neither write nor understand English language, this Service respond s that the minimum qualification for recruitment and selection in the NIA now SIS is WASSCE Grade 12.
1. The applicant applies in writing with his /her qualification attached.
2. The applicants are shortlisted for interview
3. The applicants are interviewed by a panel
4. The applicants are screened to authenticate their documents tendered
This allegation regarding 60% of SIS staff are illiterate is untrue. This is because the word illiterate means someone who cannot read and write, in view of the above, we strongly deny the allegation in the stronger term. As at now SIS has a good number of graduates such as Masters, Bachelors, HTC, Diploma, Post Graduate Diplomas etc in various areas.
This publication in the media was contrary to the letter and the spirit of the official secrets act, the code of conduct and the ethical values of the service by extension.
Reference to your Thursday editorial 8th June 2017, on the above caption, more than 60% of NIAs illiterate is an overstatement. Since the establishment of the agency, recruitment of new set of operatives has been conducted with due diligence by the recruitment committee.
This board consists of experienced Directors who maintained checks and balances to actually ensure that those wanting to join the agency carry the desired qualifications. Like any other institution, the agency recruits new members depending on their individual qualifications and experience. Therefore, your assertion to say currently the agency has 60 per cent of its members as functionally illiterate is totally unsubstantiated and out of context.
For operational reasons we may not be able to refute some of your arguments but without prejudice, and with all intents and purposes, your actions as an erudite mole has remind many operatives that over the years all such articles that are sent to the media are sensational, malicious and utterly an exercise in futility because they carry no merit.
The State Intelligence Agency has never circumvented our recruitment systems at any point in time and in anything we, we do it with a human face knowing fully well that we are dealing with people with different backgrounds and qualifications.
Forwarded By A Correspondent
Below is what the Point Newspaper published in its Thursday Edition.
More than 60% of NIAs ‘illiterate’
Thursday, June 08, 2017
More than 60 per cent of the personnel of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) “are functionally illiterate” who can neither read nor understand English language, according to a leaked petition from the agency.
The petition, written by Bubacarr A.M.O Badjie, legal adviser of the NIA – now referred to as the State Intelligence Services, has it that most of the functionally illiterate NIAs got their employment through nepotism for they were recruited by past and present NIA directors, former army generals and Pa Bojang, a cousin to former President Yahya Jammeh.
“Individuals who were brought by Pa Bojang comprise ‘Green Youth militants’ and other residents of former President Jammeh’s mother’s home,” Mr Badjie said in the petition, dated 22 May 2017, sent to the Office of the President and copied to the Gambia Bar Association, Inspector General of Police and Director General of NIA.
A copy of it has been obtained by The Point newspaper.
According to the petition, the usefulness of such people as NIA agents “is very insignificant as most of them cannot write comprehensive English language nor understand it”.
“Ordinarily, the first priority of the reform is to conduct a proper staff audit as writing is the working tool of the intelligence agents,” Mr Badjie said in the petition.
According to the legal adviser, the reform is not yet done and without it the NIA cannot contribute effectively to the crucial role a democratised intelligence service can play in the national security architecture to combat both traditional and emerging threats including terrorism, espionage, insurgency, sabotage, subversion, human trafficking, money laundering and illegal migration.
Spying on Barrow
According to the petition, during the campaign for the 2016 presidential election, an NIA security officer (name withheld) while on study leave “infiltrated the UDP party and even became a body guard to President Adama Barrow (when he was a candidate) during the campaign and during the political impasse and shortly after his assumption to the Office of the President.
The guy is now promoted from a security officer to an operative directly answerable to the director general of NIA.
According to the petition, the torture facility that the former director general of NIA, Yankuba Badjie, allegedly erected at the NIA Investigation Unit has been removed, “and the room repainted to remove stains of blood”.
“This act amounts to tampering with evidence as investigation was being done into death of Solo Sandeng, one of many individuals who had undergone torture there,” the petition stated. “[With] the removal of the torture facility at the Investigations Unit, there is risk other such facilities constructed at SIS Safe-houses’ will be removed too.”
“Relative to this is the fact that most of the individuals said to have been be involved in the torture of Solo Sandeng and his co-UDP supporters are reporting to work without facing any consequences for their actions,” it added.
In the petition, Badjie also alleged that prosecution witnesses, Lamin Jobarteh and Lamin Fatty, are now sent to outside postings, “thus making their attendance at the trial a daunting task”.
Nine former NIA officials, including the former director general, are currently facing murder charges for the killing of Solo Sandeng and at some point, the prosecution was hindered for lack of enough evidence.
According to Badjie, in his petition, President Barrow should have been informed about the human, material and financial resources of the NIA, including dissemination of personnel and property in The Gambia and outside.
But this was not done as of the time of writing the petition and Badjie feared that it is a signal that the NIA tradition of non-accountability could be maintained.
NIA legal adviser said he deemed it imperative to write the petition to bring to the attention of President Adama Barrow the “very little progress” made in the reform process of the NIA.
Author: Sanna Camara and Lamin Jahateh