Atlanta based Gambian businessman has demanded an apology from President Adama Barrow of The Gambia. Modou Gaye, a former close aide of Mr. Barrow, felt being defamed by The Gambian leader. He said he is a victim of blackmail. That some officials close to Mr. Barrow lied against him just to sever his ties with the rookie President. Gaye thinks that Barrow had acted on an unsubstantiated allegation against him without verifying its veracity.
Gaye is a native of Banjul. He said he got to know Barrow, when he and his parents were renting at the home of the late Modou Musa Njie. Barrow was at the time charged with the responsibility of collecting rent for the late Mr. Njie.
When Gambia’s change of government happened in December of 2016, Gaye said, he received a phone call from one Lamin Cham, a Sukuta born native and also a former Elton Gas station Station Manager. Cham told him that he was needed in Dakar, Senegal, by the then President elect Adama Barrow. Barrow briefly settled in Senegal, during Gambia’s month long political impasse before returning to Banjul.
Gaye is very connected in Senegal. He first met with President Sall before meeting Barrow. He said President Sall welcomed him with an open arms when he flooded the idea of wanting to contribute his quota to nation building in Senegal. His parents are originally from Senegal. Though, Gaye was born and raised in Banjul, The Gambia.
Gaye met President Barrow, Coalition leaders such Mai Ahmed Fatty, Amie Bojang Sissoho, Barrow’s Press Secretary, among other officials, who traveled with Barrow to Dakar during the impasse. He also met Muhammed Bazzi, a Lebanese businessman indicted by the US Treasury Department on terrorism related financing and money laundering, some Gambian businessmen, including former Jammeh Cabinet Ministers and officials who fled the country in the wake of the political impasse at the hotel, where Barrow was hosted.
Gaye said some questionable behind the scenes transactions occurred in Dakar, as Jammeh former aides and close business associates, including Muhammed Bazzi, thronged the hotel, where Barrow was hosted. He will not disclose what kind of mishap or irregularity transpired at the hotel, but he was quick to say that Mai Fatty’s claims of Jammeh looting the Central Bank couldn’t pass a smell test—adding that he is a living witness to what happened in Dakar.
Gaye said the time for him to tell the world about what actually transpired in Dakar hasn’t come yet. But he said, he will one day tell his story. He added that the names of some of the businessmen and former government officials he met in Dakar, came up in the Janneh Commission, but up till now, none of the folks he met appeared before the Commission.
Mr. Gaye was among the entourage, who flew with Barrow to Banjul shortly after Jammeh had left the country for Equatorial Guinea for exile. He was allocated a room and a vehicle by President Barrow, as soon as they arrived in Banjul. He moved his family from Atlanta to Banjul, to begin a new life, where he stayed for one year, before parting company with Mr. Barrow. He has traveled with Barrow to different countries; attended meetings; and in some occasions carried out business errands for the President.
Mr. Gaye’s relationship with Barrow went south, when the President was told that Gaye was in talks with dictator Jammeh’s loyalists in the country. An Army Captain one Saidykhan, reportedly told Barrow that Gaye was seen hanging out with Jammeh’s loyalists in town. He was confronted, but he denied having any ties to Yahya Jammeh and his supporters.
Gaye told Freedom Radio Gambia in an interview that he knew Ebrima Colley, a former State House driver, Wandifa Barrow, Jammeh’s ADC, and others prior to Barrow becoming a President. He said his association with Barrow will not make him to abandon people he knew in the past. He also said he never hide his interactions with Ebrima Colley.
Gaye’s car was seized. His friend Ebrima Jarju was also arrested. Both him and Colley were processed at the Kairaba police station, where he met Turo Jawneh, Ambassador at large Jagana and other close aides of Barrow.
Gaye gradually began to lose access to President Barrow. He used to have direct access to Barrow. He was told that if he wants to meet with the President, he got to go through the Protocol. He said he was not in the good books of Barrow’s Chief Protocol officer Alhagie Ousman Ceesay.
Gaye had to return to the United States with his family, following his strained relationship with the President. He went back to the daily grind, while at the same time trying to comfort his sick mum.
When President Barrow visited the United States this past September to attend the UN General Assembly Summit, Gaye made an arraignment to meet with President Barrow. He said he was told by Barrow that some people informed him (Barrow) that he (Gaye) has trust issues. That Barrow told him that he was not happy when he heard from some unnamed people that he (Gaye) was telling them that he used to handle and deliver Barrow’s personal briefcase into his hotel room.
Barrow wouldn’t tell Gaye the people who turned him in. Though, he informed Gaye that he will no longer allow him around his entourage.
Gaye left New York for Atlanta with shock and disbelief. He said he was disappointed by the way Barrow treated him.
Modou Gaye, has a Facebook page named “ SENE GAMBIA.” He has blamed Lamin Cham for severing his ties with the President. He said one of the reasons why he was booted out of the State House, was because of his refusal to be part of any corruption scheme.
He recalled having a one and one meeting with President Barrow in his office, where he told Barrow that one of his close aides had allegedly received a bribe of $35,000 dollars from some investors. He said Dodou Sannoh, a Presidential Youth Adviser abruptly walked into Barrow’s office and interrupted their conversation. Sannoh made a remark that the President has an appointment, and it was time for him to leave the office.
Gaye also said he was tasked by President Barrow to work on a crude oil deal from Nigeria, but the project he said, was impeded by corrupt and dishonest officials. He said it was through him that some Nigerian oil refinery investors came to the country. He said he once introduced the Nigerians to Fatou Ceesay and co, but he later lost contacts with the Nigerians. He said the Nigerians met Fatou Ceesay, and one Mr. Darboe, the son of Balla Musa Darboe. Darboe had an office along the Kairaba Avenue.
Gaye also called out Yankuba Saidy, the former Director of Investment at the State House. He has accused Saidy of killing investment in The Gambia. He said Saidy’s bureaucratic red tape attitude towards investors had frustrated many investors to leave the country. He said backroom deals is killing Gambia’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
He recalled bringing some Brazilian investors into the country. The Brazilians wanted to invest in rice cultivation. He even took them to the former Minister of Agriculture Omar Amadou Jallow (OJ). OJ was very accommodative to Gaye and his Brazilian investor friends.
OJ welcomed the proposal and even wanted them to start with the Bakau gardens, but the project, according to Gaye, suffered a premature death. He said under Barrow’s rule, investors are required to go through the State House, before they are granted permit to invest in the country.
Gaye also talked about Jammeh’s cars being used by Lamin Cham and the UDP. He said unless he received an apology from President Barrow, he will not rest in his quest to clear his name.
“I haven’t done anything wrong to warrant these people to lie against me to the President. President Barrow is a good man, but he has been surrounded by folks with ulterior motives. If he doesn’t disassociate himself from Lamin Cham, he will soon find himself in a hole that he cannot remove himself,” he said.
The Barrow State House could not be reached for immediate comment.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai