By Mustapha Jallow
Two personnel of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Gambia Police Force yesterday morning visited the Infinity New Energy Enterprise but a co-proprietor of the factory reportedly asked them to leave the premises.
According to Mr Buba Jammeh, a forestry officer, the two plain clothes police personnel attached to Brikama Police station, came to his office and asked him (Jammeh) about the factory issue. He said the two personnel later asked him to accompany them to the said factory, which the NEA says is operating illegally.
Buba Jammeh, the Plantation section head at Nyambai Forest under the Technical Unit of the Department of Forestry, said when they arrived at the factory, they were lucky that the gate was not locked and they entered in. He added that they met one of the proprietors, a lady who was questioned about what they produce in the factory.
The forest officer said there was a push and pull between the Police investigators and the Chinese proprietor. He added that the Chinese lady suddenly ordered the Police investigators and himself to leave the premises immediately.
“The Chinese lady asked us to leave. The Police couldn’t conduct their Investigation because she referred them to NEA. I also heard one of the officers on phone reporting the matter to his senior,” he remarked.
This reporter revisited the said factory to ensure that he speaks with proprietors this time but a staff of the factory told the reporter the lady had gone to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) office. However, when the staff phoned the proprietor, she asked the reporter to allow her speak to her lawyer first, before booking an appointment for an interview.
The Chinese proprietor could be heard asking her staff not to allow the reporter inside.
“Don’t allow anyone inside. Don’t give my number to the reporter but take his number,”
Meanwhile, one of the Police detectives confirmed that the Chinese woman was not willing to cooperate during their Investigation and asked them to leave the factory.
“She sent us away. And tomorrow (Friday, 26th April, 2019) we are coming with commissioners to inspect the site,” one of the investigators said.
An official of NEA Lamin Samateh had earlier alleged that a Chinese factory, Infinity New Energy Enterprise, is operating illegally at Nyambai Forest without an environmental approval.
He remarked: “Whatever is happening at that place now is illegal. No environmental approval was granted to the factory. They started a process, and Forestry Department challenged them along the way, and we had to stop them. We also urged the proprietors to work with forestry department to resolve that issue and submit the evidence that their activities would not affect the area so that we can proceed with their application. That was where we stopped with the Chinese,” he said.
He alleged that complaints were received by officials of NEA that the said factory is recycling oil waste which was not part of the submission they made to the NEA.