Mauritania: Pw1 Says Immigration Officers Defied Her Instruction and Released Boat Which Eventually Capsized in Mauritania

A prosecution witness, who testified in the case of four staff if the Immigration Department charged with Official Corruption and Conspiracy to Commit Felony, said a boat carrying migrants from the Gambia capsized in Mauritania, after the defendants defied her instruction not to release the vessel to venture into the high seas.

Sarjo Sanneh, an immigration migration officer stationed at Barra in North Bank, Omar Bojang, the Officer Commanding the Barra Immigration Post, Baboucar Gassama and Ansumana Touray are all immigration officers facing prosecution on charges of official corruption, giving false information to a public servant and conspiracy to commit a felony. The other accused person was Ousman Bahoum, who is allegedly the vessel owner.

Senior officer commanding the Migration Unit at the GID headquarters Binta Barrow testifying on Wednesday before the high court, said their investigation revealed that a boat carrying migrants to Europe that capsized in Mauritania resulting in the demise of 63 migrants, was the same both that her personnel conspired and allowed to leave.

She explained that Sarjo Sanneh defied her instruction not to release the vessel by letting it to go. Assistant Superintendent Barrow said Sanneh told her via telephone conversation the boat intercepted was not heading to Europe and this was why he released it. She stressed that Sanneh released the vessel without getting any instructions from the Commissioner of the Region who was insisting that he should not release the vessel.

See our subsequent edition for the details.

Count 1, Conspiracy to commit felony contrary to section 368 of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Sarjo Sanneh, Omar Bojang, Babucarr Gassama and Ansumana Touray on or about the 26th November 2019 at Barra Village while in course of their duties conspired among themselves to corruptly receive seventy-five thousand dalasis (D75,000) from Ousman Bahoum through his agents for the release of his intercepted vessel purposely to convey migrants to Europe through the high seas.

Count 2, the four immigration officers were charged with Official Corruption contrary to section 86 (a) of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, the four Immigration on the same day and year at Barra village while in the course of their duties corruptly received an amount of seventy-five thousand dalasis (D75,000) from Ousman Bahoum through his agents for the release of his intercepted vessel purposely to convey migrants to Europe via the high seas.

Count 3, Bahoum was charged with Official Corruption contrary to section 86 (a) of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Ousman Bahoum on or about the 26th November at Barra through his agents gave D70,000 to immigration officers for the release of his vessel purposely to convey migrants to Europe via the high seas.

Count 4, Bahoum was charged with Conveying person by water for hire in unsafe or overloaded vessel contrary to section 225 of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Ousman Bahoum on the 27th November 2019 at Jinack village knowingly and/or negligently caused an overloaded vessel to convey 195 migrants via high seas which capsized and resulted in the death of 63 migrants and endangered the lives of other migrants.

Count 5, Bahoum was charged with rash or negligent act causing death contrary to section 221A of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Ousman Bahoum on or about the 27th November 2019 at Jinack village carelessly and/or recklessly overloaded a vessel with 195 migrants to convey them to Europe through the high seas which capsized and resulted in the death of 63 migrants.

On count 6, Sarjo Sanneh was charged with making false document contrary to section 320 (a) of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Sanneh on or about the 26th November 2019 while in the course of his duties purportedly made statement to his superiors to believe that a suspect, Ousman Bahoum was arrested in connection with an intercepted vessel about to leave the shores to Europe via the high seas, which he knew was false.

On count 7, Sarjo Sanneh was charged with giving false information to a public servant contrary to section 14 (a) of the Criminal Code. According to the particulars of the offence, Sanneh on or about the 26th November 2019 while in the course of his duties gave information to his superior Assistant Superintendent Binta K.J Barrow that a vessel was about to leave Gambian shores to Europe via the high seas is intercepted and suspects are arrested which information he knew and believe to be false.

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