(JollofNews) – A Gambian-Lebanese businessman who is wanted in the Gambia for human trafficking has used his first newspaper interview to rubbish the charges against him, describing them as bogus.
Ali Fneiche is accused by the Gambian authorities of conspiring with Sulayman Bojang, Momodou Bojang and Alasan Jallow to traffic 19 Gambian girls to Lebanon ‘for the purpose of exploitation’ between January and December 2014.
But in an exclusive interview with JollofNews, Mr Fneiche, who is currently in Lebanon, said he had never recruited any girl for the purpose of exploitation.
“All I did was to help these Gambian girls who are in search of greener pastures to migrate to Lebanon to enable them to help their families back home,” he said.
“In fact, I employed one of the girls as my personal domestic staff to help my wife and she is currently leaving with us here. The allegations are completely false and are well calculated to tarnish my image.”
Mr Fneiche said although he has helped about 50 Gambians girls to migrate to Lebanon to make a better life for themselves and their families, 15 out of the 50 girls have since returned back to Banjul.
“Some of these girls were found to be suffering from tuberculosis and HIV when they arrived in Lebanon and were refused admission into the country in accordance with our immigration rules,” he added.
“I have copies of all their travel documents and none of these girls had come to Lebanon without the knowledge of their families. So if I were engage in any dodgy enterprise I see no reason why I should establish contact with their family.”
Mr Fneiche said the Gambian authorities have always been made aware of the travel arrangements of the girls and the authorities would have stopped him if he was involved in any illegal activities.
He added: “Last December, the Gambian ambassador in Saudi Arabia and the chief immigration officer of the Gambia visited these girls in Lebanon and they were both satisfied with the treatment and conditions of the girls. I was never informed about the visit until after the officials had met with the girls. They would have surely filed criminal charges against me if any of the girls was being exploited or living here illegally. By the way, contrary to the figures highlighted by the Gambian authority in their indictment against me, there are well over 60 Gambian girls leaving and working in this country legally. It is very unfair for anyone to accuse me of engaging in trafficking in person.”