Written by Pa Nderry M’Bai
The Director General of Gambia’s Food Safety and Quality Control Momodou Bah says the case relating to the expired mayonnaise consignment that was seized from the Emkay Stores Gambia Limited is in the hands of Gambian police for investigations. “ I guess the matter is in the hands of the police. I think the police are the best people to give information on that matter. I don’t think we are privy to giving information as we have handed it over to the police,” Bah told me in a phone interview on Thursday.
When quizzed as to why the matter was referred to the police, Bah wouldn’t comment further. He only retorted: “I guess you have already reported what is equal, you know. All I can say is that the matter is with the police. I am not privy to give any other information on this because they have recorded everything, and they have got all the information relevant to this matter. So, they might be in a better position to give you information.”
Below is the Q and A interview we had Momodou Bah, the DG of Gambia’s Food Safety Department:
FN: We are calling you about the shipment regarding Nando, the Indian businessman, we are made to understand that your office, the Food Safety intercepted that shipment, what can you tell us about that shipment, what happened?
MB: I guess the matter is in the hands of the police. I think the police are the best people to give information on that matter. I don’t think we are privy to giving information as we have handed it over to the police.
FN: Why was the matter referred to the police?
MB: I guess you have already reported what is equal, you know. All I can say is that the matter is with the police. I am not privy to give any other information on this because they have recorded everything, and they have got all the information relevant to this matter. So, they might be in a better position to give you information.
FN: So, the matter was reported to the police because the container contained expired mayonnaise? That’s what happened?
MB: Ask the police what happened, they will tell you.
FN: Well, you are the Director of Food Safety, you owe it to The Gambian taxpayers.
MB: Is a police matter, is a police matter, and I can’t tell you anything about it. So, ask the police.
FN: Has the expired mayonnaise been destroyed?
MB: I am sorry, I can’t further give you any further information, I am sorry.
FN: Mr. Bah, why are you not forthcoming with information because I think you owe it to The Gambian taxpayers.
MB: Why should I? Because it is with the police and you a journalist and you do your investigation, go, and ask the police, they have the records, ask them.
FN: Well, the reason why I am calling you, because I wanna have your own side of the story.
MB: No, you are not getting any side because it is in the police, it is a police matter, how can give a side?
FN: Is it true that you guys, you been bribed, that is why you are reluctant to talk?
MB: Well, whatever you say, but it is in the hands of the police and the police are going to handle it.
FN: But how comes this kind of shipment can….
He then hung up the phone before we finish our sentence.
It would be recalled that the Freedom Newspaper was the first media house to break the expired mayonnaise shipment, belonging to an Indian businessman Nando. Jarga Faal, the Deputy President of The Gambia General Transport Union has told this medium that the two containers containing the expired mayonnaise was discovered by his union’s members at the ports. The incident happened three months ago. The seized consignment was dumped at a Kanifing warehouse, and was being investigated by Gambia’s Food Safety Department, he said.
Meanwhile, Lamin Njie of the Fatu network, has forwarded a statement he said came from the EMKAY STORES GAMBIA LIMITED. The company has denied publications made by the Freedom Newspaper and the What’s On- Gambia on the expired mayonnaise it imported into the country.
“Contrary to what is being told to the public, the mayonnaise in the container as widely reported was not meant to be distributed in The Gambia. The container was NEVER meant for The Gambia in the first place, as its final destination was Dakar. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions owing to the pandemic, the container overstayed in the Gambia Port and while it was en-route to Senegal, it was intercepted by the Senegalese Customs where it was discovered that the expiry date was near,” Emkay Stores stated.
“Upon discovery, the container was confiscated, the Gambia Food Safety and Quality Control was alerted, as were The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the Gambia Police Force respectively,” the company added.
The company says the expired mayonnaise was distributed into their stores.
“Please note, that the mayonnaise was NEVER distributed to the public. There is no evidence that the alleged mayonnaise was distributed in the Gambia,” it claimed.
Editors note: We had earlier sent a media query to the police spokesman Lamin Njie to shed light on the expired seized mayonnaise belonging to the Emkay Stores Gambia Limited. We are yet to hear from Spokesman Njie. We will keep you posted with developments.