By Omar Bah
Business tycoon, Sillaba Samateh has categorically denied having any knowledge about the two tons of cocaine with a street value estimated at D4 billion seized at the Banjul port last week.
The 118 bags of cocaine were discovered last Thursday during a search of a container shipped from the port of Guayaquil in Ecuador and through Algeciras in Spain.
It was not clear where the cocaine was ultimately heading to.
Since the seizure, speculations have been going around that the likes of Sillabah Samateh who is perceived to be close to President Adama Barrow might have an idea about the Gambian-French national, who allegedly smuggled the drugs into the country.
But speaking in a Standard exclusive, Sillabah said: “Any suggestion that I know anything about this is completely false. I have no business with anybody who deals with drugs. I have never engaged in drug business. I don’t even know Banta Keita. All these allegations are politically motivated. They are anticipated to tarnish my image. I don’t even know any drug dealer and if anyone has any evidence about my involvement in drugs, I challenge you to bring it forward. Those who claimed that I am close to Barrow because I want to promote my drug business are warned that if I come across anyone accusing me of selling drugs, it doesn’t matter wherever you are around the world, I will take you to court”.
The businessman-cum-political activist said he is pretty much contented with what he has, arguing that no amount of monetary inducement will make him take part in drug dealing.
“I have lived in Europe for years but no one has ever heard about me getting involved in drug dealings. I was also never charged or arrested in connection to drugs. So I don’t understand why my own Gambian people will want to tarnish my image for things I know nothing about,” he added.
Also commenting on similar wild allegations on social media that President Adama Barrow could have an idea about the drugs or the runaway Banta Keita, Samateh, a leading sponsor and vanguard of the two-decade old struggle to remove former president Jammeh, said the President Barrow he knows will never engage in drug dealings.
“The Gambian people should have no reason to doubt President Barrow. The gentleman I know will not stand so low. I can bet my life that Barrow will never do any such thing – he is better than that. Like I said before, this is all meant to tarnish my image and the president’s image. But they will fail miserably,” he said.