The Trumpet Newspaper has been digging more into the 48 blocks of Cocaine found in a sugar consignment owned by Shyben A. Madi (SAM) and Sons. The drugs were discovered by labourers of a Mauritanian businessman whom the Madis’ sold the sugar. The matter was then reported to SAM management who alerted their legal counsel before it was reported to Drug Law Enforcement Agency of the Gambia (DLEAG).
According to our sources within the panel of local investigators from various security sectors, on Tuesday 17 March 2015, Lawyer Aziz Bensouda acting on orders of his clients (SAM), called the attention of DLEAG about the discovery of some blocks of suspected cocaine found in a sugar container imported by Shyben A. Madi (SAM) and Sons limited and sold to Sheriff Muhammed Salem, a Mauritanian businessman.
Sources stated that DLEAG sent superior officers comprising of Director of Operation, Director of Intelligence and Director of Investigation to confirm the information given to them by lawyer Bensouda. The superior officers met with Bensouda, Mr. Peter Aziz and Mr. Elias Dib office managers of SAM at the chambers of Amie Bensouda and Co. Our sources said the suspected blocks of cocaine were transported to DLEAG office in Banjul in the company of Aziz Bensouda, Peter Aziz and Elias Dib.
Sources pointed out that at the initial stage of the matter, preliminary investigation was conducted and a report was sent to the office of the president for directives on the case. On Monday 23 March 2015, an executive order was conveyed for a joint security taskforce to be constituted to search all the premises, offices and properties own by SAM including all the containers that arrived in that particular shipment from Santos, Brazil.
Sources informed the Trumpet that DLEAG and team of local investigators have obtained 21 witness statements as part of their investigation. The witnesses include Sheriff Muhammed Salem, a Mauritanian businessman, Liman Hamoud a storekeeper, Mahmud Babou, Essa Jarra and Salifu Trawally, labourers for Sheriff Muhammed Salem.
Statements were also obtained from Bubacarr Marong, a volunteer Assistant Customs Clearing Clerk, Yusupha Marong also a volunteer for SAM, Sheikh Baba sales manager for SAM, Elias Dib an Assistant office manager, Peter Aziz senior officer manager of SAM, Biran Njeen Marong the Custom Clearing Clerk for SAM and Lamin Muhammed Kalifa the SAM storekeeper.
Our sources further indicated that the panel of investigators also recorded statements from one Ousman Jabang, a cargo surveyor at the Gambia Ports Authority, Muhammed Salim and Muhammeh Salim both workers of Leeman Taban a business associate of SAM.
Muhammed Nagi, storekeeper for Muhammed Taban, Muhammed Ahmed Salem, storekeeper for Ibrahim Salem, Muhammed Kory, storekeeper for Abdoulie Salam and Pa Seedu Faal working for Muhammed Tarr.
The investigators also obtained statements from Mr. Abdou Gillen the container Terminal Manager at the Gambia Port Authority and Mr. Ebrima Jim Drammeh, Director of Operation DLEAG.
According to our sources the panel has arrived to the conclusion that SAM has committed offence of being in possession of prohibited drugs for the purpose of trafficking contrary to section 43 (4-b) of the Drug Control Act of 2003. The case file was sent to the Attorney Generals’ Chambers for legal advice.
Apparently, the four company directors namely George S. Madi, Mrs. Sarmen R. Gomez Madi, George Madi Junior and Charles Victor S. Madi were charged in absentia. The matter was forwarded to Court as Prosecutors believed they have sufficient evidence against Shyben A. Madi and Sons Limited.
However, the matter was mentioned at the Banjul High Court in April 2015 with the absence of the suspects, who were at the time in London, England and refused to come to the Gambia to face the panel of investigators in order to clear their names. In late June, State Prosecutors subsequently withdrew the case from proceeding. After the case was withdrawn from Court, the Madis’ immediately returned to the Gambia from United Kingdom.
Written by: Fabakary B. Ceesay