By Alan McEwen
Daily Record, UK
A Gambian caught working illegally at a porridge factory in Scotland was using fake ID linked to Dr Ismaila Ceesay, a presidential candidate for Citizens’ Alliance in the 4th December election.
The 44-year-old Ismaila Ceesay told a court that he fled The Gambia to escape a wave of murders which claimed the lives of family members.
He obtained a Swedish identity card with details relating to Dr Ismaila Ceesay.
He was caught after an anonymous letter was sent to his bosses with a web link to a story about Dr Ceesay’s electoral run.
When he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at the weekend, Ceesay admitted possessing a false ID card and working in the UK illegally.
Prosecutor Jack Caster said Ceesay had been working for a porridge company for two years when the anonymous letter was sent to its senior staff alleging he was working illegally.
Mr Caster said the letter included a link to a story about an Ismaila Ceesay who previously lived in Edinburgh but returned to The Gambia where he was running for the presidency.
The court heard Ceesay was called in by his employers to discuss the letter’s contents.
Mr Caster said: “During the conversation he admitted that the allegations were true.”
The prosecutor said the company contacted the Home Office whose officials searched Ceesay’s address and found a Gambian passport attributed to him confirming his nationality.
Arrested by police and taken to the city’s St Leonard’s station, officers asked Ceesay if he was Swedish.
He replied: “No, I am not Swedish.”
Defence counsel Liam Kildare said his client went to Scotland alone a decade ago to escape conflict in The Gambia.
Mr Kildare claimed: “Several of his family members had been murdered by government soldiers and he felt it necessary to flee.”
The solicitor said Ceesay obtained, through a friend, a Swedish ID card relating to a person who shared the same name as him.
“This person held dual nationality for The Gambia and Sweden.
“Mr Ceesay’s intention in possessing this ID card was to find work. The intention was to work illegally rather than for the purposes of impersonation to commit more serious offences.
“His intention was survival.”
The court was told Ceesay married a UK national in November 2020 and that conferred the right for him to remain in the UK and work here.
Ceesay will be sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court later this month.
Last year it was reported that Dr Ismaila Ceesay, the Citizens’ Alliance presidential candidate in The Gambia, had renounced his Swedish citizenship as he prepared his presidential run.
It was reported Dr Ceesay obtained Swedish citizenship in 2002 after studying there, and previously lived in Scotland where he studied at the University of Edinburgh.
When contacted for comment on the matter, Dr Ceesay who has since returned to lecturing at the University of The Gambia, said he was contacted by the British court and told them that he does not know the person and that he had in fact reported that his documents might have been stolen by an unknown person.
“As far as I am concerned, I have no idea about who he got the documents from or who might have given them to him. This is all I can say on the matter,” Dr Ceesay stated.