Senegalese Customs agents posted at Kaolack, have been accused of stealing, and burglarizing a truck filled with merchandise and household items belonging to a Gambian national Fatoumatta Saidy, who is based in Spain, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The accusations were made by Ms. Fatoumatta Saidy, during an interview with Freedom Radio Gambia, on Friday.
Ms. Saidy, is a legal resident in Spain. It took her six days to drive from Spain to Senegal. She travelled via Morocco, Mauritania, and then Senegal, by land with her truck. She was accompanied by some other people.
When she reached Kaolack, Ms. Saidy said, she was told that she cannot cross to The Gambia, because of the border standoff. The border was closed at the material time. She pleaded with the Senegalese Customs at the Kaolack Customs post to release her truck, but to no avail. She even had to spend a night at the Kaolock Customs post. She was denied access to her truck on that night. She slept at the station, while at the mercy of mosquitoes.
Ms. Saidy said she was later allowed to sleep in her truck after repeated pleas with the officers. Her Spanish Identity Card was taken from her by the Customs agents. She said she was not treated nice while in Kaolack.
When she asked about why she was being stopped, she was “rudely” told by one of the Customs agents to ask the President of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh. She said one the Customs officers even made a remark that “Gambians are bad people” and that his fellow officers should not entertain any conversation from her.
Following failed attempts to secure the release of her truck, Ms. Saidy said, she proceeded to her native country, The Gambia, leaving her truck, and merchandise behind. She said she left the manifest containing the items loaded in her truck with the Senegalese Customs agents.
While in The Gambia, Ms. Saidy said, she was in contact with one of the Customs agents in Kaolack, Ndiaye Kosto. She said Mr. Ndiaye, assured her that her truck and merchandise were in tack.
Ms. Saidy is a Gambian businesswoman. She tells Freedom Radio that her husband gave her a cash amount of 20,000 Euros, so that she can start a business in The Gambia. She buys and sells second hand household stuff and sponges.
After a brief stay in The Gambia, she returned to Spain. She was told by Mr. Ndiaye that once the border reopens her truck and belongings would be released to her. All this time she was in contact with Ndiaye, she said.
Ms. Saidy phoned Ndiaye once she heard in the news that the Gambia/Senegalese border has been reopened. Mr. Ndiaye told her that he (Ndiaye) has been transferred to another Custom post. Mr. Ndiaye, then hung up the phone on her, without entertaining any further questions from her.
Disappointed by Customer officer Ndiaye’s conduct, Ms. Saidy said, she phoned her sister in The Gambia, to ask her to receive her truck for her in Kaolack. To her surprise, Ms. Saidy said, almost all her belongings loaded in the truck, were allegedly stolen by the Senegalese Customs agents. Two suitcases belongings to Gambians in Spain, were also stolen. She said even the gas that was in her truck’s gas tank, was also emptied by the thieves. She added that the thieves also stole the extra gas that they had in the truck.
When asked whether she had lodged a formal complaint with the Senegalese police, Ms. Saidy said she was asked by her mom not to pursue the matter. She said despite the loss of property she suffered during the three months impounding of her truck, she was billed to pay 150 Euro Customs handling fee in order to clear her truck from Kaolack.
Ms. Saidy used the interview to ask the government of President Macky Sall to investigate the activities of what she calls the “rogue and corrupt Customs agents” posted in Kaolack. She said such officers should be punished for their reprehensible conduct.
The Freedom Newspaper placed numerous phone calls on Mr. Ndiaye’s cell phone, but he was not available for comment.
Below are some of the pictures of the alleged stolen merchandise, and the truck that was impounded by the Senegalese Customs agents.
Written By Pa Nderry MBai