The Consul General at The Gambian Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Omar Faye, has clarified that contrary to Ebrima Dibba’s claims that he had been abandoned by The Gambian government after he (Dibba) has accused the government of refusing to airlift him back to Banjul, Faye says instead it was Dibba, who made a request for his home return to be delayed until the first week of June, when his kids were expected to finish their exams. The former Gambian Ambassador to the United States, was speaking in an interview with Freedom Radio Gambian on Tuesday. He was contacted by this medium to shed light on Dibba’s allegations against the government.
Mr. Dibba was the Protocol and Welfare Officer at The Gambian Consulate in Jeddah, until he was fired recently. The government said his firing had to with Dibba’s alleged meddling into active politics.
Dibba had pledged his support and allegiance for his party leader Ousainou Darboe, hours after Darboe and two other UDP Ministers Amadou Sanneh and Lamin Ndambou Dibba were fired from Barrow’s government. His statement must have infuriated the authorities in Banjul; hence he services with The Gambian government was terminated by the Public Service Commission.
On Monday morning, Dibba took onto whatsapp, claiming that he and his family had been rendered stranded in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. He also accused the government of refusing to pay him his one month salary.
Reacting to the allegations Consul General Faye said: “ I was made to understand that he had a meeting with my admin and finance team. They even sent me a letter, where Mr. Dibba asked them to delay his departure until the first week of June. The reason being, so that his kids can complete the second term; get their results from the schools and then he can pack his stuff and head out back home. I said, there is no problem with that. We all live as a family; things happen and I think that is something accommodating. So, when the issue of abandonment came in or things happened, I was taken aback. And I think to be fair to the government and also to be fair to Mr. Dibba, himself, I think it could be a breakdown of communication between him and the admin or the finance department. But they have talked to him, and they agreed that they should delay his departure from Jeddah.”
“Part of his family has left. Madam and a couple of kids have left. And it was going to be him and the other two boys; but we should allow him so that those boys can complete their school; make sure that everything his backed up; they can leave honourably and go back home. As a leader here, I supported that because that what should happen. I am surprised that a question of being abandoned and all that thing is coming at this hour. I am really not sure; I am kind of lost,” the former Gambian top Diplomat in Washington DC tells Freedom Radio Gambia.
Faye maintains that Dibba’s home return was delayed at Dibba’s own request.
“I have the letter in front of me that was written after he had a meeting with the financial attache. I consulted again with my staff to ask them clearly and they all brought the paperwork and said, your excellency, this is what we have agreed with Mr. Dibba, that we are going to make sure that Mr. Dibba will stay in the house honorably; stay with the kids and when they complete their exams; he will get their results; by then the monies of the container will arrived; he will pack everything; then gentlemanly he can leave and head back to The Gambia. This was what I was made to understand by the team and they gave me correspondence to that effect,” Faye remarked.
Mr. Faye also rejected Dibba’s allegations that his salary was withheld by The Gambian government. He says no one has the power to seize Dibba’s salary.
“That is a very serious allegation. As I said, there could be a breakdown of communication between Mr. Dibba and the finance department. The department has sent me Mr. Dibba’s spreadsheet in terms of his emoluments and that has confirmed that he was paid and of course, he was deducted. The government would pay 70% and the diplomat would pay 30%. There could have been deductions here and there, but there is nobody, who has the power to hold Mr. Dibba’s salary; that was his pay; and the finance department assured me that they have paid him and they have also sent me correspondence to that effect,” he added.
Faye also said the President has nothing to with the airlifting of diplomats. He says such arraignments are handled by the Foreign Ministry via his Consulate.
He referred to Ebrima Dibba as his brother. He says his doors were open to Dibba, and implored on him not to hesitate to contact him, if he (Dibba) needs any help from his office.
Faye says a day hardly passes by without him and Dibba exchanging text messages.
“I always check on him to see how he and his family are doing. Ebrima was a hardworking staffer. I have known him to be a good person. He is in the position to tell you why he was fired. All I can tell you is that he was getting along fine with us here” Faye said, adding that Dibba even attended the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) town hall meeting that was held in Saudi Arabia.
WRITTEN BY PA NDERRY M’BAI
EMAIL: [email protected]