A Gambia government scheme designed to scam millions of United States dollars of UNHCR refugee resettlement program, has been exposed by a whistle blower at Gambia’s Immigration Department, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The Gambia government has been registering non refugees over the years in an attempt to tap funding from the UNHCR, the whistle blower said. Millions of dollars have been pocketed by corrupt officials.
Explaining how the Jammeh regime went about making arraignments to transport non refugees from the Southern province of Casamance to register them as refugees fleeing from the rebellion in Casamance, the whistle blower alleged that the scheme is usually carried out by Immigration agents in collaboration with the Jammeh State House. He said several thousands of bogus fleeing refugees have been registered by the State, who would in turn financially compensate the new arrivals from Casamance.
“We normally pick up villagers from Casamance to register them as refugees on the basis that the state would compensate them financially. We normally give them food, and couple of hundred of dalasis before we will facilitate their return to Casamance. These are not refugees. It is some form of an agreement the villagers would normally reach with the Immigration Department so that they can benefit from the UNHCR refugee fund. The President’s hustle for money is getting nastier. We deemed it imperative to bring this scam to the attention of the UNCHR and the world at large,” the whistle blower said.
“I have been working in this Department for a while now. My conscience can no longer allow me to watch by and see such high magnitude of corruption being perpetrated in this office. The Immigration Department is acting in concert with the State House to conduct the cross border fake refugee resettlement program. People in Casamance, who had no fear of persecution are being encouraged by the Jammeh establishment to come to this country to claim refugee benefits. UNHCR and other international agencies are footing the bogus expenses. These are not refugees,” the whistle blower remarked.
According to the whistle blower, senior Gambian government officials, including the President Yahya Jammeh, are the main beneficiaries of the false refugee resettlement program.
“This country is going down. There is endemic corruption at the Immigration Department. Someone needs to raise the alarm bell for the perpetrators of corruption to be exposed. The UNHCR Refugee fund should not be misused,” he said.
The Gambia government could not be reached for immediate comment at the time of going to press.
Written By A Staff Writer