By Lamin Njie
A group of engineers at the Gambia Ports Authority Ferry Service are carrying out a sophisticated heist in which ten of gallons of fuel are being siphoned on weekly basis, it has been alleged.
Impeccable sources have told The Fatu Network a group of engineers with the technical department at the ferries are engaged in the grand fuel heist.
A source said: “The engineers are the custodians of the fuel in the ferries. They are the ones involved in this. They siphoned it from the bunker while the ferry is moving. They often sell the fuel to taxi drivers on board the ferry. Also, some officials of the senior management team fuel their private vehicles from this.”
Security officers at the ferries on Monday busted an operation in which two engineers and a driver were arrested and taken to the police station at the terminal and charged.
“These security officers have been forwarding these kinds of matter to senior management but for some reason they do not take any action,” the source added.
“The security are doing their job but the engineers always boast that nothing will happen.
“There is the issue of nepotism as some senior management officials are related to those who are involved in this.”
Another source also confirmed to The Fatu Network on Tuesday that two engineers were detained at a police station at the ferry terminal in Banjul on Monday over allegations they stole fuel, adding a member of the staff of ferries protested the detention of the engineers in the middle of a crowd.
The source who was present during the incident and has an audio recording which has been made available to The Fatu Network added: “While the matter was at the police, a gentleman named Mustapha Cham who is a weld man in technical department was standing in the middle of the terminal surrounded by a group of people.
“He was saying that the fuel theft should not be an issue since both the GPA management and that of the ferries have been taking millions of dalasis from the coffers and that has never been investigated. He was shouting and insulting.”
‘I do not know anything about fuel theft’
The public relations manager at the ferries Omar Touray told The Fatu Network on Tuesday he doesn’t know anything about the alleged fuel heist.
“I do not know anything about fuel theft. It has not been reported to me and nobody has shown me anything like that,” he said.
He added: “With regard to the fuel, I have not gotten any report from the police or the NIA. We have all the security sections here and I have not heard of any report about fuel theft.
“I cannot remember any case reported to senior management. There are certain issues which happened. We have our service rules. There are disciplinary measures we normally take within ourselves. It’s not that whatever comes here we have to expose it to the police.”
On the issue of millions of dalasis being pilfered by officials, Touray said: “That is a fabrication. If people are collecting millions, the government is responsible and we have management who are responsible and you can be just picking millions here and nobody will alarm it.”
The Fatu Network has also learnt that one hundred containers at the ports have gone missing. The case is reportedly being investigated by the serious crime unit of the Gambia Police Force.
The Fatu Network contacted the spokesman of the Gambia Police Force Lamin Njie over the case but he said he was going to find out from the crime department.
Editor’s note: The Fatu Network will launch a full investigation into the alleged fuel theft as well as the alleged stealing of millions of dalasis by some senior officials of GPA