Thursday, April 15, 2021

Former GRA Employee Explains How She was victimised by the Former Government

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By Yankuba Jallow

Veronic Carayol, an ex-employee of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has on Wednesday, 04th March 2020 testified before the TRRC on her victimisation by the former regime.

Carayol is a former deputy commissioner of customs and excise duties now called the GRA.

Carayol’s detention came through a publication published on the Kibaro (Online) Newspaper. Carayol said the heading of the article was ‘Deputy Commissioner Customs Department Exposed’.

She said the article suggested that she was involved in harassing and blackmailing agents. She added that the article further suggested that she was not loyal to former President Yahya Jammeh and everyone at her workplace was afraid of her. She said the article indicated that her loyalty was to ex-convict Lang Tombong Tambang.

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She told the Commission that she suspected that it was written by the current Commissioner General of GRA Yankuba Darboe who at the time was the head of the Customs Department.

She said the finding by Mr. Darboe was exactly the same as the article published.

She said there was one Friday when she went with employees of GRA to work at the ex-President Yahya Jammeh’s farm. She told the Commission that she went to Kanilai thrice to farm on Yahya Jammeh’s farm. She said she was arrested at home when she returned from Kanilai, adding that at the time of her arrest she was the Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement.

She said she was taking to the NIA headquarters at the Marina Parade. She told the Commission that she was not told why she was arrested until the following day. She said she was given a room by Momodou Sabally, an ex-Secretary General and head of Civil Service and it was where she spent the night.

She said in the morning, she was taken before a panel of interrogators who were questioning her. She added that the panel was headed by late Louis Gomez, the then Deputy Director of NIA. The tearful witness said at the NIA, she was asked to shed light on the article published on the Kibaro Newspaper. She described the condition of her detention as horrible, adding that “it was very horrific especially to a woman.”

She said she was charged with abuse of office, giving false information to a public servant, unlawful publication and corrupt practices. She said she was arraigned before the Banjul Magistrate’s Court on either her 28th or 29th day of detention. She said after 10 months trial, the trial magistrate found her guilty on all four counts. She said she was fined a sum of D90,000 which she paid and went home. She said she was convicted in 2014. She said she was acquitted and discharged when she appealed the decision and she was reimbursed her D90,000.

She said she was served with her letter of dismissal from work while she was detained at the NIA. She said she was reinstated by PMO when Jammeh loss in the polls. She said when she went back to GRA to resume work after she was reinstated by the PMO, Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe asked her to go home and wait for his call. She said her reinstatement letter indicated that she was reinstated to her previous office and she was supposed to be paid all her outstanding salaries. She said she complained to the PMO and other offices about what Yankuba has done. She added that a month later she received a letter of appointment from PMO that she was appointed at the Internal Audit Office of GRA. She said she informed them that she was supposed to be paid her outstanding salaries and since then, she hasn’t heard from them. Carayol said she is currently unemployed.

The TRRC was established by an Act of the National Assembly to investigate past human rights violations that happened under ex-President Yahya Jammeh’s regime.

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