(JollofNews) – The Gambia’s minister of the Interior Mai Ahmad Fatty has denied sanctioning the arrest and detention of a whistleblower who exposed alleged wrongdoing at the country’s feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
Bubacarr A.M.O Badjie, legal adviser of the spy agency was arrested last week and detained by police after he wrote a memo to the Office of the President in which he accused the agency of having a 60 per cent workforce that is “functionally illiterate” and can neither read or understand the English Language.
He said a large percentage of the staff some of whom were members of President Jammeh’s Green Youths and relatives living at the residence of Mr Jammeh’s mum, were recruited into the agency by past and present directors, former army generals and Mr Jammeh’s cousin, Pa Bojang.
Gambian activists and online media commentators have condemned Mr Badjie’s arrest and have called for his immediate and unconditional release.
As criticisms of his arrest continues, the Interior minister Fatty, he did not authorise the arrest of Badjie or any other person of interest to law enforcement and was also never consulted prior to his arrest.
“As minister under this democratic dispensation, I have, as a matter of policy, reinforced the tactical and operational independence of the Gambia Police Force, to perform their statutory duties in accordance with the Police Act and other cognate laws,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
“This is intended to eliminate political interference and undue influence in the professional activities of the Force. As such, I do not grant prior validation to the police on matters of arrest, detention, investigation or prosecution, or restrained their capacity to do so in the proper exercise of their functions.”
Mr Fatty added: “I have created a Human Rights Unit attached to the Office of the Minister, to monitor, investigate and recommend for action matters dealing with police misconduct, human rights violations and public complaints against law enforcement. I do not deal with technical matters such as arrests, detention and police prosecution, etc.
“Although I take full responsibility of the satellite institutions under my Ministry, it would constitute a misconception of the role of a security minister to include the power of arrest, detention and prosecution. It would be wrong assumption to conclude that the Minister of Interior would be aware of every arrest or detention situation in the country. The Ministry of Interior is one of the busiest in government and that Minister should not interfere in such matters.”