Abubacarr Tambadou, Attorney General and Minister of Justice has reacted angrily to criticisms of his attempt to secure diplomatic passports for his mother, stepmother and two sisters.
The Attorney General’s reaction comes on the heels of national outrage as to how privileged government officials are able to bypass certain vetting processes.
“I was advised by MOFA that the President can, exceptionally, grant approval for the issuance of diplomatic passports to individuals based on a number of considerations. I followed that advice and formally sought that approval in writing transparently which was granted,” Tambadou stated in his reaction.
The Justice Minister’s application for diplomatic passport which is currently making trends on social media caught many Gambians by surprise. Last week the Gambian police issued a list of individuals involved in issuing diplomatic passports without following due process.
In the face of this saga, many Gambians both at home and abroad have called on the Justice Minister to resign, but it seems he has no intention to do so.
“I wonder when a mere formal request for an approval for anything has become illegal or undermines anyone’s integrity to warrant a resignation? If there is any fault, and I am not saying there is, that ought to be directed at the approving authority and not the requestor. I merely asked for a privilege that I was told could be extended to a sitting cabinet minister’s family, and my request was clear about the reasons,” Ba Tambadou submitted.
He said it was the responsibility of those entrusted with such decisions to either approve or disapprove his application.
He expresses his disappointment as to how Gambians are reacting to his application, arguing that turning the whole legal application for a diplomatic passport as something illegal is a big mistake from Gambians.
“Turning the whole story around as if I have done something so wrong as to warrant my resignation from office betrays a more sinister and personal animosity. For what reasons?” he rhetorically asked.
Tambadou further disclosed that neither him nor his family needs the diplomatic passport to merely travel the whole world, adding that with or without diplomatic passport he and his family have been traveling and will continue to travel even after he leaves office.
“My family and I DO NOT need a diplomatic passport to travel around the world. We have been doing so in the past and we will continue to do so after my services with government ends someday soon inshallah…It is disappointing that instead of focusing on the more serious issue of the unlawful sale of passports, we are expending our intellectual energy on a very legitimate request with a legitimate approval from legitimate government officials,” Ba Tambadou explained.
Tambadou challenges critics to dive to the bottom of the ocean” to search for his faults, assuring that they will never find anything that will stain his integrity.