The Mayoress of Banjul Rohey Malick Lowe has been implicated into what appeared to be a clandestine pre-election voter buying scheme, Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Mrs. Lowe is a prominent member of the United Democratic Party (UDP). She had recruited one of her staunch supporters Fatou Faye to spearhead the ID Card issuance project so that UDP supporters would be issued voters cards in preparation for the upcoming general registration of voters, SIS sources said. An investigative report prepared by a panel: whose membership mainly consists of the State Intelligence Services (SIS), The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) and the police, have revealed that Fatou Faye, a strong UDP supporter, was given twenty thousand dalasis (D20,000 by Mayoress Lowe to kick start the ID Card issuance project.
Ms. Faye has confessed to the investigators for having assisted and financed more than 12 people to acquire them ID Cards. Some of the people she financed were residents of Banjul and Ebo Town.
“It is unveiled that Fatou Faye spent many years abroad before finally returning at Ebo Town in The Gambia sometimes in 2006. Since her return, she has been frequenting her family home in Banjul and a strong supporter of the UDP. That among her main intention is to seek for financial support from donors to fund eligible Gambians secure biometric ID Cards. That she claimed to have secured roughly D20,000 from the Mayor of Banjul Rohey Malick Lowe to kick start the process,” the SIS, GID and the police investigative report stated.
It is not clear if Mayoress Lowe had used the Council’s funds to finance the ID Card project which has been earmarked for the UDP supporters, but the panel’s investigative report said she was among the financiers of the ID Card project.
Mayoress Rohey Malick Lowe was never interviewed by the panel. Beneficiaries of her ID Card project were interviewed, but she wasn’t.
Fatou Faye was born and raised in Banjul. She came from 13 Gloucester Street. She even assisted some of the tenants renting at their family home in Gloucester street by securing them ID Cards.
“I was born at number 13 Gloucester Street Banjul but now resident at Ebou Town. Sometime in 2018, I decided to financially support Gambians who are eighteen (18) years and above acquire ID Cards. I then informed one Lamin Kinteh to scout Gambians in need of identity cards. Lamin resides opposite my compound in Ebo Town. He later provided the list of names of people,” Faye told the investigators.
“Upon receipt of the money, interested individuals came to my compound in Ebo Town and were each given D500.00 (five hundred dalasis). These applicants went to the Immigration department on their own to look the ID cards. I got the monies in installments from Gambians in diaspora particularly America and United Kingdom, but I did not remember the exact amount. I knew some among these people but each one was given D500.00 (five hundred dalasis) and they went by themselves to the Immigration to get the ID cards. I could not remember the total number of the people assisted but they normally return upon receipt of their IDS to show me,” she added.
Ms. Faye said she couldn’t remember the exact date that she gave money to some of the people she helped to secure ID Cards.
“It was in June 2020 that I took pictures of twelve (12) national ID Cards and forwarded them to one Ba Famara in the United Kingdom through WhatsApp. I normally take pictures of these ID cards from people assisted and send to my donors for accountability purposes. I do not help these people to get the national documents in order to vote for any political party, but as Gambians who cannot afford to acquire one,” she told the panel.
Fatou Faye’s Africell phone line record was reviewed by the investigators. There was information available to suggest that she was in contact with the immigration officers.
Fatou Manga of Banjul was among those Ms. Faye assisted to secure an ID Card. Ms. Manga’s parents hailed from Sanghajor, Foni. She said she visited Fatou Faye at her home and asked her to help her with money to secure an ID. Ms. Faye gave her D500,00 dalasis and she was issued with an ID.
Also, interviewed by the panel was Mariam Jaiteh of Banjul. “I live in Banjul with my mother Fatoumatta Suwareh. I know Fatou Faye in Banjul because I am renting in their compound. In June 2020, Fatou Faye approached me and said whether I would like to acquire an ID card. I told her yes, but I do not have money. She gave my mum D500,00 and upon receipt of the sum, I went to SEMELEX at Kanifing with my birth certificate to look for one. On arrival, I bought a form and take it to the JP who filled and authenticated it. I went to the interview room where I was interviewed and after one week, I collected my ID card. Fatou Faye did not attach any condition to the D500,00 given to me.”
Momodou Lamin Cham, the husband of ID card holder Ida Sowe, also said he was assisted by Fatou Faye to secure an ID card. Cham is a resident of Ebo Town. He is a retired civil servant. Fatou Faye is Cham’s neighbor.
Ms. Faye gave Mr. Cham D1000.00 dalasis to secure ID card for himself and his daughter Awa Cham. She also gave D500.00 dalasis to Cham’s wife Ida Sowe to secure ID card.
Sulayman Kambi, a native of Kiang Karantaba also said he and his son Lamin Kambi were assisted by Fatou Faye to secure ID Card. Mr. Kambi is a driver. He is a resident of Ebou Town.
“I approached Fatou Faye, my neighbor to help me financially to acquire an ID card. She gave me D500.00. I went to the Immigration office in Kanifing with my old ID and voter’s cards as supporting documents and was later issued after undergoing the processes,” he said.
For his part Lamin Kambi said: “I live at Ebo Town with my parents. I came to know Fatou Faye, through my parents because she is our neighbor. I am having a football team sponsored by Fatou Faye. In June 2020, my boys and I approached her for assistance to acquire ID cards and she promised to help. After some time, she gave some of my boys money to find ID cards. She told me that she cannot provide for everyone because she wanted to help some women. Eight of us were each given D500.00 to acquire ID cards. I went with my passport and undergo the normal procedure before I could be given receipt to come back in a week to collect my ID card. After one week, I went and collect my ID card.”
Bubacarr Kambi (the father of Baboucarr and Lamin below is a younger to Sulayman Kambi above, who share the same parents). I know Fatou Faye because her compound in Ebo Town is opposite ours. My father is originally from Karantaba and mother from Burong in Kiang. Fatou Faye is a friend to my mother and in June 2020, my mother Isatou Darboe informs me that Fatou assists people with money to acquire ID cards. On 25th June 2020, I went to her compound where she gave me D500.00,” Kambi said.
He added that he was later issued an ID card. He says Ms. Faye did not direct him to any Immigration office to apply for an ID.
Lamin Kambi, also a resident of Ebo Town, said he is a tailor by profession. His father is Sanna Kambi, a native of Kiang Karantaba. His mom Isatou Darboe, is a native of Kiang Burong.
“Fatou Faye is a neighbor opposite our compound in Ebo Town. In June 2020, she came to the “ghetto” where I was sitting with friends and asked whether we had ID cards. We replied in the negative and she promised to sponsor us acquire ID cards in the month of June 2020. My elder brother Lamin Kambi went to her compound in Ebo Town where she gave him money for our ID cards. I was given D500.00 by Lamin Kambi (brother). On 9th July 2020, I went to the immigration office in Kanifing, where I filled a form attached my birth certificate and went through the normal processes before been issued,” he said.
Aminata Suwareh and her sister Jankey Suwareh were both assisted by Fatou Suwareh to secure ID cards. She said she was born in Lancaster street Banjul. Her Dad Kebba Suwareh is a native of Jurunku, Nuimi and her mom Fatou Bojang is from Kajatta, Nuimi. She secured her ID card from the immigration office in Banjul.
Aminata’s sister Jankey Suwareh said she lives at the family home of Fatou Faye at 13 Gloucester street Banjul. She secured her ID card from the immigration office in Kanifing.
Lamin Joof is a student at the St. Augustine Senior Secondary School. He lives at 6 James Senegal street Banjul. He is the son of Malick Joof and Bintou Darboe.
“I did not know Fatou Faye personally but used to see her with the current Mayor of Banjul city council (BCC) during the mayoral elections in 2018. In the month of June 2020, I heard from friends that Fatou Faye is assisting Gambian youths acquire ID cards. I later went to BCC where I met her at the PRO’s office, and I told her that I needed an ID. She then gave me D500.00,” Lamin Joof told the investigators.
He was later issued an ID card. He visited the BCC and showed the receipt of his ID card to Fatou Faye.
Also interviewed by the investigators were Saikou AM Jatta and Nfamara Samateh, both Assistant Superintendents of Immigration. The duo had explained to the panel how ID Cards are issued, and the requirements associated with the issuance of such national document.
Jatta and Samateh said they operate according to the constitution and the immigration Nationality and Citizenship Act. The said Act said ID Card applicants must attain the age of 18 years and above before they would be eligible to be issued with an ID.
The panel’s report also revealed that Famara Fadera is the Commissioner officer, in charge of the biometric Identity Card project.
Immigration approving officers had the discretion to approve or decline an applicant’s application. Applicants whose applications had been rejected are usually advised to provide additional documents to proof their citizenship.
The investigators opine that:
- From the findings above, the panel opines that:
- All the holders of these ID cards above met the Immigration requirement, passed through the necessary laid down procedures before been issued ID cards.
- Fatou Faye’s initiative is geared towards helping Gambians who are not financially capable to acquire the said biometric ID cards. Her main sponsors are her close friends or believed to be party sympathizers/members.
Upon critical analysis of the findings above, coupled with interviews with the said ID card holders and national supporting documents submitted to the investigators, the panel conclude that:
- All the above-mentioned ID card holders are confirmed to be Gambians. Application forms of these ID card holders were filled Justice of the Peace/Commissioner of Oath and endorsed, went through the Customer care where their forms were verified, and their documents attached before enrolment. Upon satisfaction of the approving officer to response of the applicants and supporting documents tendered applicants were cleared before being issued the said ID cards.
- It is confirmed that more than 12 Gambians were funded by the subject to acquire the new biometric ID cards.
- That the panel could not establish any criminal act (offence) committed by Fatou Faye, hence all the ID card holders were found to be eligible Gambians.
- Notwithstanding, report forwarded for your information and necessary action.
The panel was headed by Musa Keita, an Immigration Chief Superintendent. He was assisted by Bakary Njie, an Immigration Superintendent. There were three officers from the police: Sulayman Gaye, Assistant Superintendent, Lamin Sanneh, a police Inspector, and Sergeant Swaibou Jallow. The SIS were represented by two intel officers: Albert Sylva and Alasana Fatty.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai
Email: [email protected]