By Omar Bah
& Amadou Jadama
Mansa Sumareh, a State House driver who used to drive President Barrow and was recently questioned by police over the raging diplomatic passport scandal, has told The Standard that even though he was taken in by the police, he has not been found to have done anything wrong.
“The police called me in and said they have arrested one person at the Foreign Affairs whiles another is on the run.
They also told me they have set up a panel to investigate passport scandal at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The police informed me that a particular passport was seized by the Immigration and taken to the Foreign Affairs where it was later realised that it was issued to the holder by one Ebrima Sanneh and others who have run away,” Mansa said.
He said the police informed him that the signatures on the passports were from State House but the way they were obtained was mysterious.
“I told them as far as I am concerned, I have no mandate to issue passports; that is not part of my job.
The police also called protocol officers at State House for questioning and they informed the police that the protocols at Foreign Affairs often forge their signatures to issue diplomatic passports to people,” Mansa told The Standard.
He further explained however that the person whom they seized the passport from had once approached him, claiming he had brought some investors to the country but he wanted a diplomatic passport.
“I showed him all the right channels and advised him to follow the right channels to reach Foreign Affairs.
“In fact I personally took him to a director at Foreign Affairs who informed us that such process takes time; a procedure which can be very long and rigid.
But when the man returned again, he went to Foreign Affairs himself and was issued a diplomatic passport by some junior staff at the Ministry. This is the passport seized from him by the Immigration Department who took him to the police,” Mansa said.
He went on: “So when the police asked me whether I was the one who introduced the guy to the Foreign Affairs Ministry staff, I said no and Foreign Affairs too did not mention my name.
But the guy later told the police that he had given me money last year.
But thank God the guy who directed him to me came to the police and cleared me and was released.
So really my name is cleared when it comes to the issue of the passport.
“The guy who was issued the passport has since been released though his passport has been seized.”
Meanwhile Mansa has flatly denied claims that he was no longer working at State House.
“I am still working at State House.
In fact, it was only day before yesterday that I received my salary.
Whoever said I am sacked is lying,” he stressed.
However, a statement from the presidency stated that Mansa no longer drives the president:
“The attention of the public is hereby drawn to a news article published in the Standard newspaper on the Monday 2nd September 2019 that erroneously described one Mansa Sumareh as ‘the President’s driver’.
For the purpose of clarity and accuracy, Mansa Sumareh is neither the Chief Driver nor a driver of the president.
Mr Sumareh ceased being the Chief Driver of the Head of the State since November 2018.
The office solicits your kind cooperation to correct this error immediately to avoid any more confusion on this matter.”