‘I did not authorize the arrest of Lawyer MO Badjie’ – Interior Minister says

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Gambia’s Interior Minister, Mai Ahmad Fatty has set the records straight on the arrest and detention of the national intelligence agency’s legal advisor.

Lawyer Babucarr MO Badjie was arrested last Friday and detained at the Kairaba Police station over a petition he wrote and send to the President’s office in which he highlighted various issues about the Intelligence Agency of the Gambia.

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He exposed the high level of corruption at the country’s Intelligence Agency – State Intelligence Services (SIS)- and the incompetence of its staff. He also cited the agency of having a 60 per cent workforce that is ‘functionally illiterate’ and can neither read nor understand the English Language. He said the usefulness of such people as Intel agents is very insignificant as most of them cannot write comprehensive English Language nor understand it.

Interior Minister Fatty said he did not authorise the arrest of Lawyer M.O Badgie of the SIS or any other person of interest to law enforcement and was not consulted prior to his arrest. He said as Minister under this democratic dispensation, he has, 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.

Below is the full verbatim statement by the minister as posted on his Facebook page.

“Due to public expressions of concerns communicated to me by many of you via social media, I deem it useful to clarify the situation. I did not authorise the arrest of Lawyer M.O Badgie of the SIS or any other person of interest to law enforcement and I was not consulted prior to his arrest.

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 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. 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.

 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 Minister should not interfere in such matters.”

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