‘Securiport intercepted many security threats at airport’
Responding to the audit report on the much talked-about Securiport at the Banjul International Airport, Sulayman Camara, Presidential Adviser on Cyber Security, has claimed that Securiport in collaboration with the country’s security services intercepted many security threats at the country’s airport.
“I can safely tell you that there is a lot of interception done by the Securiport mechanism at the airport in collaboration with the country’s security services. The amounts of interception our security did because of Securiport at the airport are many. Do you know that Securiport is now linked to Interpol and our country’s State Intelligence Services (SIS), the police and other security services? These security services are all linked to the database,” he said, while citing some surveillance mechanisms that have been put in place. For security reasons, Mr. Camara declined to give details on the specific thwarted threats and the surveillance nature at the airport.
In an exclusive interview with The Point, Camara, who also doubles as the National People’s Party (NPP) Media and Communication Secretary, described the audit report about the Securiport as “half-baked”, taking into account that the audit report “does not incorporate the management’s response.”
“I can tell you that there was an interception done by Securiport in collaboration with the country’s security services in 2020. Again, in 2021, they also received threats involving four foreign nationals who were later apprehended by the security. So there are lots of things that the Securiport is doing at the airport in collaboration with our own security services. I believe the former auditor general doesn’t know much about Securiport and the amount of infrastructure that has been rolled at the airport.”
The Gambia, he said, is not the only country where Securiport renders service. “It’s not only in our airport where you have people paying this Securiport levy. In fact, they are present in many countries even in Senegal. I can tell you that the amount of investment put in the airport by Securiport is quite impressive.”
The presidential adviser also spoke about the Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS) which is in place at the airport. The system, he added, helped the Gambia Immigration Department (GID) to gain another status in aviation authority.
“I am not here defending Securiport. However, all that I am saying is that we should cherish and encourage foreign investors to come to the country. Employment is a challenge everywhere in the world. All that I am saying is that, people should not merely attack them without actually knowing the services they do. Again, I am not saying every arm-chair investor should come into the country, but any investor that is to come into the country has to abide by the rules and regulations of the country,” he posited.
Camara, who is an IT expert, said: “In any auditing that one does, you need to have management response. If you don’t incorporate management response in your audit report, then your report will be half-baked. Therefore, to have a full-fledged audit report, the management of Securiport should have been contacted. I think attacking a company that came into the country to heavily invest is grossly unfair to that company. This company has provided lot of technology at the airport,” he claimed.
“As Gambian, we need to encourage investors to come into the country. Governments have the fewest employees everywhere in the world. Most of the people are employed by the private sector. Thus, we need to encourage the private sector to come so as to partake in national development.”
“We have a fertile ground for people to express themselves and their opinions freely. I think we should criticise constructively. We have a democratic country and I think the former auditor general has his right to voice out his opinions which is acceptable. However, in that process, we shouldn’t tarnish other organisations’ images based on nothing. We need employment in the country and we believe genuine foreign investors will close that gap of unemployment in the country.”
He disclosed that the Securiport also provides the “EJ system at the airport”. The EJ system, he claimed, is a system where passengers can enter the country without physically facing immigration officers.
Quizzed whether the awarding of the contract was done through the normal procedures and in line with the GPPA rules, Camara responded: “I know we have what we called single sourcing especially when it has to do with security issues. I can’t speak on behalf of the procurement authority, but I know single sourcing is allowed in many countries.”
Source: The Point