Monday, December 8, 2014

Scam artists who call themselves diplomats

The futy-free scam that saw seven of the eight members of staff of The Gambian Embassy in the United Kingdom being found guilty in an East London court is one more example of how a once proud diplomatic service has been brought to it knees.  

The scam that netted them 5 million pounds sterling at the expense of the British taxpayers span a period of three years and 32 tonnes of rolling tobacco were ordered tax free.  It was revealed in court that there no evidence that any one them was a smoker.  The extent of the scam has caused the British press to refer to them as " a gang of Gambian diplomats."  All seven are in remand and will appear in court on Wednesday for sentencing. 

The dictatorship under Yaya a Jammeh has transformed the service from one that served the interests and people of The Gambia to a service tailored to serve the interest of the Jammeh clan abroad. 

In countries like the UK where Jammeh only set foot once in 1995, the Embassy is staffed by purely family members who are there to carry out unsavory commercial deals that is not commensurate with their diplomatic status.  And the UK Embassy is not the only one.  There are other diplomatic outposts, like those in France and India where diplomatic staff is engaged almost exclusively in pursuing the commercial and private interests of the Gambian dictator.

In the case of the United States, the Gambian Embassy is pretty much occupied in monitoring the activities of Gambian dissidents and to receive and see off Zeinab Souma Jammeh, Gambia's First Lady who visits the US, at least, once a month to shop.  The Embassy staff's role is limited to providing protocol service to and from Dulles International airport only.  They are not permitted to escort her to and from her $3.5m Potomac home nor to accompany her shopping.   Her drivers and aids are all of Moroccan nationality.