Tamba           Mbowe   Sanyang

Brigadier General Lang Tombong Tamba Accused  Of  Obstruction Of Justice!

……Tamba Accused of Receiving Kickbacks From A Syrian Shopping Centre Owner In A Bid To
Frustrate Efforts To Prosecute Expired Food Stuffs Sellers!!!

Health Minister Mbowe Ignores Complain Forwarded by Food And Hygiene Officials About Lang Tombong’s Moves To Bury The Case Under The Carpet!!.

By Senior Staff Writer Justice Sam and Chief National Correspondent
Landing Badjie Banjul. Paid For And Commissioned by the Freedom

Numerous efforts made by Gambia’s food and hygiene  health officials to prosecute a leading Syrian shopping centre in the Gambia for selling expired food stuffs, has been frustrated by the newly appointed Army Brigadier General Lang Tombong Tamba, as reports reaching this paper linked the Army Chief to kickback collection and corruption related scandal. General Tamba is reported to  have been  on the payroll of the Kairaba shopping Centre, who according to well placed sources at the state house  had bribed Tamba to save them from facing the full scale of the law. A trusted and dependable source at the office of the President in Banjul said Brigadier General Tamba’s close ties with the Syrian shopping centre Management was not a secret to  the daily shoppers and staff of the Presidency. Investigations conducted  by this paper reveals that a large quantity of expired food stuffs, which were intercepted by Health Ministry officials in January of 2007, from the Kairaba Shopping Centre, could not proceed to court due to the political backing accorded to the accused persons by Tamba.  The case has suffered a natural dead. There is no immediate word available as to what is responsible for the non prosecution of  these Syrian nationals, who confessed to health officials for having sold expired foods to Gambians. Neither the police, nor Health officials at this hour dared to pursue the case, as the Syrians had been reportedly bragging  that they have the backing of Lang Tombong Tamba. Tamba has been accused of receiving bribes from the Syrians amounting to millions of dalasis.

The Kairaba shopping centre is situated just opposite the Africell offices. Sources reaching this paper say the Health Minister Dr.Mbowe  received a complain  from food and hygiene officials about the slow pace of the investigations with regards to  the Kairaba shopping Centre case and Lang Tombong Tamba’s attempts to interfere with the said matter. Minister Mbowe was briefed about the dangers of allowing the Syrians to go scot free from the said case,  considering the implications of selling expired food stuffs to the citizens of the impoverished tiny West African country.

It’s not yet clear if some Gambians who consumed the said expired foods had suffered from  any health problems. A  report authored by the investigating team stressed the need for the perpetrators of this offence to be brought to  book. But Dr.Mbowe for some reasons is not comfortable with  pursing the case, since according to our sources he thought that  Lang might use his influence to get him fired.

The Kairaba shopping centre is one of the biggest supermarkets in the Gambia. Our correspondent who has been investigating the story gathered that Lang Tombong Tamba was also tasked by the Kairaba Management to facilitate the hiring process of security guards posted at the shopping centre. Lang we gathered, was an affiliate of the business institution, even though he is commanding the country’s armed and security forces.

Insiders at the Kairaba shopping centre said the security chief has been frequenting the supper market in the recent past. Lang they said “has been  accorded with many fringe benefits” by their employer. Each time he walked into the shopping centre, they said  Tamba is accorded with a special reception and had been seen dinning and winning with the shopping centre boss after work. His weekly groceries are also being taken care of by the Kairaba  shopping centre management, sources said.

Selling expired foods is prohibited in the Gambia. Research has shown that many people died due to poisonous food they consumed on a daily basis from local supper markets. The problem is mainly blamed to lack of proper food inspection by health officials and corruption. Due to poor pay and  low staff morale, health officials tasked with tackling the sale of expired foods, are usually induced by supper market owners not to dispose off these expired foods to the detriment of citizens. In most cases, impounded expired food stuffs found its way into the local market, thanks to those charged with the responsibility of disposing them off.

Health Ministry officials who spoke to this paper said they have carried out their work as expected and it was up to the police and the relevant authorities to see to it  that the Syrians supper market owners face the law. According to these sources, General Lang Tombong Tamba has been meddling into the affairs of the said case, which is virtually undermining all serious efforts to bring the accused persons to justice.

In the past, Indian supper market owners also accused of similar offences had their criminal cases dropped. Corrupt Gambian officials cannot withstand bribes advanced by these supper market owners. A senior health official has warned that if the current trend continues many Gambians and non Gambians would die due to food poisoning related cases. The official says the authorities who are expected to complement their efforts to prosecute food law violators are accepting bribes in the open these days. All attempts to reach  General Lang Tombong Tamba for comments proved futile. He was indisposed at press time.
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Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 (Archive on Tuesday, June 26, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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