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By Omar Bah

The US Department of State has explained the decision behind the expulsion of four Gambian diplomats at the embassy in Washington. 

The diplomats Abdu Cham, Pa Sako Darboe, Mustapha Sosseh and Alhagie Babou Joof were given until 17 July to leave the United States. The US State Department explains each diplomat’s situation as follows:

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Abdu Cham

According to the Department of State, Abdu Cham, a counsellor at the Gambian Embassy in Washington, DC, is found wanting by the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) of striking his daughter, with a mop.

“The mop left markings on the daughter’s arms.  The MCPD further reported that based on the victims’ injuries and evidence at the scene, had it not been for his diplomatic immunity, Mr Cham would have been arrested under state law and charged with second degree child abuse,” the State Department said.

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Mr Cham’s case was referred to Child Protective Services (CPS) who provides recommendations and access to resources to assist families.

“The Department expects that the embassy help ensure the safety and wellbeing of its members and their dependents, including all the children who are residing in a principal’s household. The Department reminds the embassy that members of a foreign mission are expected to respect the laws of the United States. The Department takes this matter very seriously and considers such alleged behavior unacceptable for a member of a foreign mission,” the statement added.

The Department said it will continue to monitor the situation and will be in contact with the embassy as new information becomes available.

Pa Sako Darboe

On the case of Pa Sako Darboe, a first secretary, the Department of State said he is found wanting of taking into custody transfer documents for a thirteen-year-old girl, and a fourteen-year-old boy.

“A subsequent investigation by the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) determined that the custody transfer documents were fraudulent, and that Mr Darboe used these fraudulent documents to enroll the two children in school in Montgomery County, Maryland,” it added.

Alhagie Babou Joof

The DSS also found that, separately, Mr Alhagie Babou Joof, a finance attaché, had participated in visa fraud.

Mustapha Sosseh

“Finally, DSS found that Mustapha Sosseh, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the embassy, had been associated with visa applications with fraudulent indicators and that the illicit schemes described above took place under his leadership.

Accordingly, pursuant to Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on

Diplomatic Relations, the above-named individuals and their dependents are required to depart the United States no later than July 17, 2023, at which point they will cease to enjoy any privileges and immunities,” the statement said.

The DSS also requested the Gambian Embassy to return all Department-issued documents for the above-named individuals, including their driver’s licenses, tax exemption cards, and identification cards, to the Department’s Office of Foreign Missions immediately.

“Further, the Department informs the embassy that the above-named individuals are unacceptable for future accreditation as members of The Gambia’s Mission to the United States,” it added.

The State Department documents were obtained from The Fatu Network.

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