Thursday, December 24, 2015

Damfaye Primary School Headmaster arrested for refusing to bribe Police Sergeant 844 Bayo

Principal Lamin Camara, Damfaye Primary
Sgt. Bayo's note

Sgt. Bayo's note

A little over a week ago, we published a verbatim blog post written by Karamba Touray, a Gambian resident in the United States about the ordeal of trying to help his home village's primary school at Damfaye in the Central River Region.  You can find his original story here.  Unfortunately, what was supposed to have been an act of good citizenship ended up in a Headmaster being arrested and held in custody at the Bansang Police Station.

According to Mr. Touray's original account, a forty-foot container-load of "assorted materials for a school project" he and others who are from Damfaye village in the CRR and currently resident in the US was shipped to Banjul.  Upon arrival of the shipped items, a number of villagers accompanied Damfaye Primary School Principal, Lamin Camara, to Banjul to collect the container.  But since the items consisting of donated items for a school project are non-dutiable items, they sought and eventually received duty waiver from the Ministry of Finance.
Sergeant 844, Bayo, Kaur Police Station

While transporting the items in two trucks to Damfaye village, the convoy was stopped at a Kaur checkpoint that was manned by two police officers.  At this point, acording to Karamba Touray, one of the officers who identified himself as Sergeant 844, Bayo, took the driver's licences of the two drivers and demanded  D 3,000 for them to proceed on their journey.  When they refused to pay the bride,  Sergeant Bayo drafted the notes seen here instructing the drivers to return to Kaur police station after off-loading the materials at Damfaye.

Mr. Touray called Sergeant Bayo and demanded the return of the drivers' licenses " he illegally confiscated and...also told him he wasn't going to get a butut from the drivers." It must be noted that Sgt. Bayo is a graduate of Yaya Jammeh's Green Boys, fashioned after the late Colonel Qaddafi's vigilante enforcers unleashed to terrorize the general population.

The frustration in Mr. Touray's written account is reflected in a rhetorical question he posed after his experience with a criminal enterprise that Jammeh has created when he asked " [w]hy should government officials pose deliberate and obtuse hindrances to ordinary people trying to make their communities better."

The latest report from Foroyaa newspaper is that Laim Camara, the Principal of Damfaye Primary School has been arrested Friday 18th and taken into custody at Bansang Police Station.  The Police Commissioner Sankareh could not say what crime the principal is being accused of.

Principal Lamin Camara's only crime is his refusal to pay a bribe to Sergeant Bayo of Kaur Police. He must, therefore, be released unconditionally and without delay.