By Omar Bah
The Gambia Government spokesman, Ebrima Sankareh has said it is highly likely that President Adama Barrow will consider legal action against Pap Ali Niang, a Senegalese investigative journalist who claimed to have unearthed corrupt practices by Barrow and his minister of tourism Hamat Bah.
The journalist is reported to have alleged that President Barrow together with Minister Bah recently purchased a vast plot of land in Senegal at the tune of $227,000, a number of other luxurious properties, and various bank accounts. Ali has also alleged the sales of Jammeh’s cars and properties in Senegal by the Barrow government through Hamat Bah.
Pape Ali earned huge respect in Senegal for exposing the oil deal between President Macky Sall’s younger brother and a Russian mafia.
Though The Gambia government is yet to formally react to the story, Spokesman Sankareh told a popular show on West Coast adio: “When I received the story, I immediately sent it to President Barrow and on Monday he called me and we had a very long discussion and I wanted to find out the veracity of Niang’s story. According to President Barrow, this is probably the darkest lie ever orchestrated against him and his person and he takes these allegations very seriously.”
President Barrow, he added, said he has no accounts in Senegal. “He said all his accounts are domestic accounts and he has challenged Ali to take pictures of all these properties and share it with his listeners because he sees Ali as a very desperate pathological liar who wants to seize advantage of the election year to make money”.
“This is totally false. These are lies orchestrated to smear the president’s reputation and character in an election year. It is highly likely that President Barrow may consider legal action against Pap Ali Niang,” Sankareh added.
Sankareh said a section of the Senegalese press are partisan and they do it either for political reasons or financial reasons. “I would want to argue it is probably for financial reasons because in 2009 when former President Jammeh bought a property in the United States, not only did I as a journalist report it but I went there and made video of it and took pictures of it as evidence that it was true. Pap Ali has no evidence. This is a concocted lie just to damage President Barrow’s character but they will fail woefully because President Barrow is clean, disciplined and a very sober head of state”.
Responding to a question on what must have gone wrong between the Senegalese media and Barrow, Sankareh reacted: “That is left to conjecture … These are human beings and they alone know why but what I can tell you is regarding this story and all related stories of President Barrow owning bank accounts in Senegal is just a farcical lie.”