The statement below was forwarded to us by Lamin Njie of the Fatu Network:

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Dear Pa. EMKAY Stores shared this statement and I thought I should share with you.

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Thanks

Lamin

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A STATEMENT BY EMKAY STORES GAMBIA LIMITED ON THE WIDESPREAD FALSEHOOD ABOUT EXPIRED MAYONNAISE ALLEGEDLY DISTRIBUTED IN THE GAMBIA.

With regards to the many publications made online by gossip blog What’s On-Gambia and Freedom Newspaper respectively, it is imperative that we (Emkay Stores Gambia Limited) address the people of The Gambia on the subject matter.

The Mayonnaise incident which is currently being reported by these news outlets is nothing but a deliberate attempt to discredit/defame Emkay Stores Limited, its staff, stakeholders and the Gambia Government.

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.

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.

Please note, that the mayonnaise was NEVER distributed to the public. There is no evidence that the alleged mayonnaise was distributed in the Gambia.

We at Emkay Stores urge the public to disregard the falsehood being spread, while reassuring you that we will NEVER put Gambians and all residing in The Gambia in harm’s way.

We do not intend to join issues with these two media houses (Freedom Newspaper and What’s On-Gambia). We also would wish to remind them that defamation of character is a criminal offence in the Gambia, while urging them to desist from spreading falsehood, and rather focus on good journalism, and not spreading half baked information to the public.

Good journalism requires that the person/corporation alleged to be responsible for the expired product be contacted to confirm authenticity before publishing – it is rather unfortunate that in the last 24 hours, there have been numerous posts about this matter by the same blog, but not a call to Emkay Stores to confirm authenticity of the rumour.

We urge What’s On-Gambia to stop chasing clout and focus on good journalism, rather than baseless hear-say (he says, she says, they say) journalism.

In the word of Walter Cronkite; “We all have our likes and our dislikes. But… when we’re doing news – when we’re doing the front-page news, not the back page, not the op-ed pages, but when we’re doing the daily news – it is our duty to be sure that we do not permit our prejudices to show. That is simply basic journalism.”

Signed,

Emkay Stores Gambia Limited.

Editors note: We stand by our story. No amount of spin doctoring or threats can make us to disown our story. Draconian defamation laws wouldn’t either scare us off from performing our required journalistic work.

It is indisputable that a shipment containing expired mayonnaise belonging to the Emkay Gambia Limited was grounded in The Gambia.

It is also indisputable that Gambia’s Food Safety and Quality Control Department was the agency that handled the initial investigations of the expired imported mayonnaise case belonging to Emkay. The case was subsequently forwarded to the police. We refer you to the Food Safety DG’s interview contained in this link: https://www.freedomnewspaper.com/2021/09/16/breaking-news-gambias-food-safety-director-general-says-emkays-stores-gambia-limited-expired-imported-mayonnaise-case-is-in-the-hands-of-the-police-for-investigations/

As we rightly earlier reported, the shipment was destined for Senegal.

Since Emkay is claiming that the expired mayonnaise “ was NEVER distributed to the public. There is no evidence that the alleged mayonnaise was distributed in the Gambia,” then the million-dollar question is: Where is the expired mayonnaise that was seized by the Food Safety Department?

Can Emkay tell us what happened to the expired mayonnaise?  Has it been destroyed? Why are its consumers kept in the dark until the Freedom Newspaper publication?

Instead of owning up to its own mess, Emkay and its collaborators are shamelessly crucifying us for reporting a story that would no doubt save Gambians and non-Gambians from being harmed by an expired mayonnaise shipment.

It is imperative to note that the shipment was seized three months ago. Neither the Food Safety Department, nor the police have issued a statement to inform the public about this major expired mayonnaise seizure.  We are not surprised though, because it is the Gambia, the land of corruption, where corrupt officials are in the business of shielding corrupt businessmen.

Emkay is being informed that the health safety of Gambians is sacrosanct, and it should be everyone’s business to jealously safeguard it. We do not report rumors, we report facts and nothing but facts.  We rest our case.

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