The recent uncovering of massive corruption at the Gambia National Petroleum Company, which the government described as ‘most serious economic crime since 1994’ turns all eyes on brief-case trotting civilized mafias of Pipeline.
Pipeline became a bourgeoisie neighbourhood during the former government, populated mainly by people whose hands are stained with the sweat of tax payers. But the syndicate has not died with its creator as it passes hands to a new generation of corrupt officials who seem greedier and more sophisticated.
Are you surprised that some of the arrested senior civil servants linked to the GNPC saga and those lined up as prosecution witnesses belong to this mafia group? No? Thought not! They have been stealing our money for many years and covered by the wheels of hypocrisy.
The Pipeline gang lives a lifestyle akin to that of Hollywood stars at the expense of the poor and downtrodden Gambians who have no hope of even moving up in life. As someone rightly said they are greedy people who have no morals as soon as money becomes involved.
The Ministry of Petroleum is one of the newest ministries in Jammeh’s government. It was led by them. They gave themselves fancy titles and awarded themselves staggering allowances. All at a time when the country’s public finances are under pressure.
One of the top earners at the ministry was Muntaga Sallah. He was the permanent secretary. Last year, he was sacked and dragged before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court for stealing and abuse of office.
The pipeline boy allegedly purchased three HP desktop computers for more than one million dalasis . That was not enough for him. Charges were that he later stole those computers and took them to his Senegambia home.
More than one million dalasis for three computers? Waw!
And guess what? Tax payers’ money was used to fund Muntaga’s higher education abroad.
“He is from a wealthy family and I don’t get it why the state should fund his education. His father owns a lot of properties in the country,” said a source.
According to the source, when Muntaga completed his studies in Britain and was preparing to return home, he allegedly bought gifts worth more than D100,000 for his relative, Dr. Njogu Bah, who at the time is Secretary General and Head of Civil Service. This was to win favours.
“When he came back, he was immediately appointed as Permanent Secretary at Petroleum. He was the youngest Permanent Secretary. There were people more qualified than him but because of his closeness to State House insiders like Njogu Bah he was offered the job.”
One of the key government witnesses expected to testify against him is his own ex-girlfriend (namewitheld). Their relationship ended acrimoniously and Muntaga went on to marry multi-millionaire, Basiru Jawara’s daughter.
“Most of these Pipeline Wollof boys are greedy. And I am glad the president is now noticing their game,” said another source.
According to the source, The Gambia can’t move forward unless we get rid of some of them in senior government positions, who believe it is “legal” for them to use taxpayers’ money to build mighty houses in the Senegambia strip, drive fancy cars and send their wives to America to deliver.
If found guilty, Muntaga, Sira Wally Ndow and all those arrested recently for allegedly emptying the coffers of the GNPC could spend up to nine years in prison.