By Tabora Bojang
At least twelve people have been convicted on charges that they illegally conspired to acquire or help non Gambians fraudulently get Gambian documents, senior officials of the Gambia Immigration Department disclosed to journalists on Friday.
Commissioner for processing and documentation at the GID, Olimatou Jammeh said the convicts include five Gambians, six Sierra Leoneans and 1 Guinean national all residing in The Gambia.
They were intercepted at the various Immigration centres across Kanifing and Banjul after they presented fraudulent documents to certify their identities and eligibilities to acquire either Gambian passport or identity cards.
She said in 2019, Immigration officers in the course of their regular interrogations to scrutinise documents submitted by applicants noticed anomalies ranging from false declarations, fraudulent acquisition and other menaces by some applicants and their confidantes.
“We have taken some cases for legal pursuance and successfully we were able to prosecute 12 cases at the court,” commissioner Jammeh stated.
The six Sierra Leoneans and Guinean were indicted for their involvement in fraudulent residential permit acquisition while the 5 Gambians were indicted for facilitating the acquisition by other nationals.
“Some are sentenced to one year mandatory term and some sentences came in form of fines in default of which they will serve jail term.”
Officials said they continue to grapple with challenges of false declaration by Gambians, who support aliens to acquire documents by attesting to their citizenship, other nationals who falsify documents claiming to be Senegalese only to evade payment of residential permit and non Gambians who illegally obtain documents like birth certificates.
Commissioner Jammeh announced a renewed commitment by the GID to consistently pursue criminal immigration enforcement mechanisms to sanitise the issuance of Gambian documents to protect it from landing into the wrong hands.
She warned the general public especially Gambians to desist from such acts as it is a collective responsibility to guard our national documents.