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Monday, January 18, 2021

Anti-narcotic spy chief clarifies

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The director of intelligence andinternational cooperation at the country’s anti-narcotics agency has said reports that the police investigative report on the Laura Food Company cocaine saga was not sufficient to secure conviction in the matter if need be is not only inaccurate and dangerous but prejudicial to the case.

The Drugs Law Enforcement Agency’s intelligence chief, Lamin Gassama, was reacting to The Standard’s Thursday publication in which it was reported that the Ministry of Justice has re-sent the file of the police probe back to the drugs agency for adjustment because, the state cannot rely on it to ensure successful prosecution of the matter in the event it finds itself in the courts.

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But DLEAG intelligence director on Thursday told this medium that it is normal that case files are sent back to investigators from the ministry of justice for adjustment if need be.
Gassama explains further:“ I can confirm that I had a conversation with your reporter [on 2 May 2020 regarding this case as he was enquiring on the status. Our telephone conversation was preceded by many text messages he sent me indicating his encounter with some other officials on the same subject. I told him that we are currently engaged with the ministry of justice.

That it is normal when a case file is sent to MoJ [justice ministry] for legal opinion and during their review felt there is need for additional information to be provided on a certain area, the legal team will request such information from the investigators. The investigators will then make effort to provide the information requested if possible. Where such information cannot be acquired, the investigator will revert to the legal team indicating that no further information is available.

This was what I explained to your reporter. At the end of our conversation, I encouraged him to wait until the process is complete for him to properly inform the public. To the best of my understanding, it was not a formal interview for the purpose of publication. I am puzzled by his courage to report that he was told the ‘investigative report is not sufficient to start prosecution because the state cannot rely on it to secure conviction.’ This statement is extremely inaccurate, dangerous and prejudicial to the case. I only explained procedures to him and not the evidential strength of the case.”

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