By Momodou Darboe
The Gambia government is yet to institute legal action in the case of 48 pellets confiscated of cocaine despite the conclusion of the investigation into the matter nearly half-a-year now.
The Minister of the Interior, Yankuba Sonko, sometime this year informed the National Assembly that the file of the investigation in the cocaine seizure was with the attorney general’s chambers for legal advice but many following the case have been questioning the sincerity and willingness of the government to prosecute the matter.
A little over a year ago, agents of the Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (DLEAG) made a swoop on the warehouse of Laura Food Company on Picton Street in Banjul where they found the cocaine being discovered by labourers, offloading a sugar shipment.
Following the seizure of the drugs by the narcotics officer, government had sanctioned an investigation into the circumstances surrounding it and investigators have since presented their report to the justice ministry for legal advice.
The matter has generated huge public interest and it was a subject of parliamentary query with the interior minister telling the National Assembly mid this year that the case file has since reached the AG’s Chambers.
But since this pronouncement by the interior minister, nothing spectacular has so far happened in the case giving rise to wild speculations about government’s readiness to prosecute the case.
When contacted, the minister of information Ebrima Sillah referred The Standard to the government spokesman.
However, the Gambia government spokesperson Ebrima G. Sankareh said he was on a vacation in the US when the discovery was made and did not have facts about the issue.
The Public Relations Officer of the DLEAG, Lamin Saidybah, could not also comment on the progress or otherwise of the matter.
The Standard, meantime, made numerous efforts to talk to justice ministry officials but all proved fruitless.
The cocaine case has remained a subject of discussions on mainstream and some social media platforms.
Meanwhile, West Africa is a major transit hub for trafficking of Europe-bound Latin American drugs. Drugs trade and organized crimes, experts believe, are blighting West Africa’s development and weak security and judicial systems as well as poverty are recognized as some of the factors fuelling drugs trade and organized crimes in the sub-region.