Diplomatic Passport Scandal: Witness said he paid $3,400 to president’s ex-driver

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By Bruce Asemota

A prosecution witness has told the Banjul High Court that he paid US$3,400 to Mansa Sumareh, the former driver to the president after the latter demanded money for a diplomatic passport he was promised by the president.

Testifying before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh yesterday as the eighth prosecution witness, Bakary Susso said he is a native of Janjangbureh and is a musician. He said he is a socially-active person and organises local football tournaments and met Mr Sumareh who at the time was the driver of President Adama Barrow at one such event.

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He said because of the good work he was doing in Janjangbureh, the president desired him to be given a diplomatic passport and while he was trying to acquire the privileged travel document he met Mr Sumareh and one Modou Sowe who introduced himself as a director at the State Intelligence Services.

Susso said in order to expedite the process, Sumareh initially requested US$800. This he said was followed by the payment of US$2,000 when he visited Sumareh’s house were he met the second accused Ebrima Sanneh who was at the time working at the protocol office at the foreign ministry and was told was working on processing the passport.

Susso said he made a further payment of US$600 to Mr Sumareh and that when he demanded receipt for the payments, Sumareh told him he would get it when he is issued the passport. He said he trusted Sumareh as he was the driver of the president. The case continues on Monday.

In a rather bizarre turn of events, Mr Sumareh recently asked President Barrow to appoint him trade minister even though he is barely literate. His co-accused Ebrima Sanneh is also canvassing to become the chairman of the Brikama Area Council in next year’s elections.