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Kimbeng Tah’s undue influence: An interview with a senior government official
Home » News  »  Kimbeng Tah’s undue influence: An interview with a senior government official
Kimbeng Tah’s undue influence: An interview with a senior government official

Kimbeng Tah is a Cameroonian who was allegedly offered fast-track citizenship by the Government of The Gambia and later appointed Deputy Director at the Department of Civil Litigation & International Law of the Ministry of Justice.

He's also the lead negotiator for government departments and agencies as well as the contracts and commercial draftsperson.

Here is an interview we had with a senior government official on Tah's undue influence over President Adama Barrow and his ministers.

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL: You people are on track with the probing of Kimbeng Tah and his undue influence. It has personally made me extremely uneasy how he is in charge of everything at the Ministry of Justice.

Certain matters are national interest and must always be handled by nationals. This is a legal principle that all previous Solicitor Generals upheld.

WOG: But some are defending him claiming he's the most hardworking at the Ministry of Justice.

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL: The fact is the current Attorney General and Solicitor General are lazy and insecure in their institutional knowledge of the Ministry. So they have found it easier to outsource their thinking and actions to Tah. They minute everything to him and he makes all the decisions.

It is one thing to have foreign nationals responsible for prosecutions like has always been with the Commonwealth Technical Cooperation. It is however another matter entirely to have foreign nationals responsible for overseeing the boards of our public institutions and negotiating our agreements with international companies and entities.

At this point, we might as well invite competent and hardworking Zimbabweans for example to come and be our President or Speaker of the National Assembly or ministers.

WOG: Do you know why they didn't give the position of Deputy Director at the Department of Civil Litigation & International Law to a Gambian?

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL: We are such a country of mediocrity. There has always been an unwritten rule and policy at the ministry even during Jammeh's time that foreign lawyers are not allowed to negotiate on behalf of the Gambian state. Never!

If you check, they were allowed to be everything and to man and head all departments, but the directorate responsible for national agreements was occupied by Gambians.

WOG: What can you tell us about Tah?

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL: He was a hanger-on, a backup to the Gambian lawyers as he should be. I have a respectful personal relationship with him and I truly admire his work ethic. But his personal ethics are not admirable. We have seen hardworking crooks and schemers. They are all over every industry.

WOG: Like Magistrate King in Brikama, if you remember?

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL: Remind me of him, I've forgotten him.

WOG: He was a magistrate in Brikama, who was widely praised for his "incredible job" tackling crime in the West Coast Region, but behind the scenes, he was taking money and releasing dangerous criminals back into society. He disappeared to his home country of Sierre Leona when his illegal activities were exposed by the media.

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL: Look at that. The matter of Tah is something I have long discussed with various personnel at the ministry.

He is so powerful that he represents the Solicitor General on boards. That is so wrong and shocking.

WOG: Do you know how he became a Gambian citizen?

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL: His naturalization was fast-tracked by our lazy and insecure Attorney General and Solicitor General duo.

WOG: Was he qualified?

 

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL: No. They gave him citizenship because they wanted him to be the lead negotiator for government departments and agencies as well as the contracts and commercial draftsperson.

Our Public Service Commission regulations allow only Gambians to occupy civil and public service positions and that is the general principle all over the world - even in the most immigrant-friendly countries, civil service positions particularly sensitive ones are reserved for nationals. This is to guard against not just conflicts of interest but to ensure one has binding and lasting ties to the nation whose affairs you are steering.

WOG: Do you know that Tah is now one of Abubacarr Jawara's biggest business partners. He is allegedly using his office to make money from government contracts.

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL: It's against the public service rules and regulations. It's started that a civil servant shall not, without approval, undertake remunerative work outside his/her official duties or use office equipment for such work.

I am hundred percent sure that Tah does not have written approval for his private dealings and works with Abubacarr Jawara and others.

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