By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)
Deputy Commissioner of Police Pa Alieu Jawara has filed an affidavit in court asking the court to refuse Aisha Fatty’s application. Aisha wants the court to ask the Inspector General of Police to return her two Mercedes Benz and two iPhone Pro Max which were taken from her. Foroyaa published what her claims in December and the police have now reacted to her claims.
The police filed an affidavit in opposition sworn by Pa Alieu Jawara, a Police Officer. Jawara is the Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Head of the National Central Bureau Interpol of the Gambia Police Force. He said he was the head of the investigation of this case. Jawara said the Inspector General of Police is the Chief Commanding Officer who oversees and commands the day-to-day administrative affairs of the Gambia Police Force which is an authorized State Law enforcement authority to investigate and prosecute fraud and related offences including the investigation of money laundering offences. Jawara stated that Attorney General is the central authority for public prosecutions in the Gambia and the chief legal adviser of the Gambia Government, departments, public institutions and agencies.
Jawara said he was informed by Senior State Counsel L. Jarjue who is handling this matter the Police and the Attorney General are the competent authorities for enforcement of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Terrorist Finance Act of 2012 and other penal legislation including the Criminal Procedure Code and the Police Act.
Jawara said sometime in April 2022, the Inspector General of Police received intelligence information bordering on all cross-border crimes syndicates in the Gambia. The IGP assessed the intelligent information and found that there was merit in the same.
Jawara said the transnational organized crimes involved fifteen (15) foreign nationals including Nigerians who were arrested and investigated. During the investigations of those foreign nationals, Aisha Fatty’s name was mentioned and as a result, she was invited for questioning to determine the extent of her involvement in the case under investigation
He said Aisha Fatty refused to honour the invitation and as a result of her deliberate refusal to answer to civility and a genuine police call, a team of officers was dispatched to her residence in order to invite her to the Police Headquarters for questioning. Jawara said their investigation revealed that these foreign nationals front the businesswomen in their transitional organized crime syndicate to launder proceeds of crime in the Gambia and within the region. Jawara said Aisha and Abdoulie were never arrested but were only invited for questioning in connection to a criminal case which is currently under investigation. He added that the phones were taken for forensic examination as part of the subject of the investigations.
Jawara explained further that Aisha and Abdoulie were separately interviewed for investigation purposes and it was done in accordance with law enforcement operational standards of criminal investigations. He said the two were never denied access to their relatives or lawyer and a relative to Aisha, one Mr Benjamin Roberts and his wife, Fatou Fatty, a sister to Aisha were present.
Jawara said Aisha was never detained beyond 24 hours under the custody of the 1st Respondent. He said Abdoulie was never under the custody of the police and his continued presence within the premises of the police was voluntary.
Jawara said their investigation revealed that Aisha Fatty owned a fleet of expensive and luxurious vehicles and has an amount of more than 20 million Dalasi in her personal bank account. He said the IGP requested the Director of the Financial Intelligent Unit of the Gambia (FIU) to block the account and the same was done. He added that the IGP seized and detained the vehicles based on a reasonable suspicion that the vehicles were fraudulently obtained outside of the Gambia by Aisha Fatty. The vehicles were sent to IGP by one Abdoulie Thiam, a Senegalese national.
Jawara said the black Mercedes Benz GLE 635 BRABUS year 2021 purchased in the amount of two hundred and forty thousand Euros (€240,000.00) from Germany and the white Mercedes Benz GLE 53, the year 2021 purchased in the amount of ninety-five thousand Dollars (95,000.00) from the US were found in possession of Aisha Fatty and are believe to be stolen.
Jawara said those vehicles are believed to be purchased by Aisha Fatty from proceeds of crimes generated through transnational organized crime business schemes with foreign nationals. He said Fatty could not explain the means of acquisition of vehicles or produce documents from the car dealerships in Germany and USA evidencing that she personally bought them. The police officer said Aisha claimed that she personally bought the vehicles and when she was asked to produce the documents, she stated that it was her boyfriend Abdoulie Thiam, a Senegalese national who bought the vehicles for her. He added that the police reached out to the said Abdoulie Thiam through Interpol in Senegal, he promised to produce the original documents from the car dealership and up-to-date the IGP is yet to receive these documents from the said Abdoulie Thiam via Interpol in Senegal. He explained further the IGP is still waiting on these documents from Interpol, Senegal which is yet to receive these documents from the said Abdoulie Thiam who Aisha Fatty threatened to expose his nude photos if he did not cooperate with her.
He said the IGP sought international cooperation via its Interpol counterpart in Senegal whose response we are yet to receive. He added that Interpol in Senegal is currently conducting investigations of this matter on behalf of the IGP to determine whether the vehicles were stolen and brought to the Gambia. He stressed that once they get a response from Interpol Senegal, the IGP will do the needful.
Jawara said investigations of the transnational crime of this nature take time because it requires international cooperation and collaboration. He added that Aisha Fatty have no gainful employment and has not owned any legitimate business in the Gambia or elsewhere, which would have enabled her to acquire this amount of money and vehicles which are the subject of this application. He explained that the offences being alleged against the IGP and Attorney General border on economic and security sabotage that strikes at the very foundation of the Gambia’s wellbeing and existence.
Jawara said the Gambia Police have the power and mandate to seize and detain any property or asset linked to the commission of an offence for the purposes of investigation. He added that he was informed by Senior Counsel Jarju that it is lawful and legal to seize the assets of Aisha Fatty during the investigation because there is probable cause and material evidence that proved that she acquired the said assets from the proceeds of crime. He added that the continuous detention of the vehicles for the purposes of investigation to determine the true nature and source of the vehicles is not unconstitutional. He stated that the public interest shall be served if the status quo is preserved until the investigation is concluded and determined. He indicated that the IGP and AG are prepared to enter into an undertaking to pay damages to Aisha Fatty if she suffers loss and/or damages.
Jawara said Aisha and Abdoulie’s application was brought in utmost bad faith and it is in the interest of justice this application be refused, as granting the same will prejudice the Police and Attorney General.