Gambia Maritime and Dockworkers Union suspend Lang Balla over allegations of financial embezzlement

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Lang Bala Sawo, the President of the Gambia Maritime Dockworkers Union

The Gambia Maritime and Dockworkers Union has taken serious action by suspending its president, Lang Balla Sawo, on allegations of embezzling nearly 20 million from the Union’s welfare funds.

After a meeting on Monday, the executive members resolved to suspend Lang Balla and promptly establish an interim committee to manage the Union’s affairs while investigations into Lang Balla’s alleged financial misconduct are underway.

A letter addressed to Lang Ballow Sawo, with a copy to the Gambia Port Authority, announced the appointment of Yusupha Cham as the Interim President. He will lead the Union through this challenging period.

“We are writing to inform you of the decision made by Dock and Maritime Union regarding your suspension from office. This decision was reached due to concern over alleged mismanagement of member funds. During your suspension, you must avoid entering the premises or accessing company resources without explicit authorization.  

You will remain on suspension until investigations are completed and a final decision is reached. You should hand over all materials, documents, and responsibilities belonging to the Union to the appropriate authorities as part of the transition process,” the letter addressed to the embattled president said. 

“Following a thorough review and consideration of the situation, the members have unanimously agreed to constitute an interim committee to oversee the affairs of the Union President’s office during the investigation. This interim committee will work diligently to ensure transparency, accountability, and the protection of members. We understand the importance of fair and impartial investigation procedures. We are committed to upholding the principles of justice and due process through this process.” 

The letter, signed by the acting secretary general of the Gambian Dock & Maritime Union, Baboucarr Ceesay, and endorsed by interim president Yuspha Cham, says the decision was not made lightly and reflects the collective will of the majority of our members.  

‘We urge you to cooperate with the interim committee and to assist in any way possible to ensure a safe and thorough investigation.’

Due to the seriousness of the allegations, the Police, through their Fraud Squad Unit, have initiated investigations into the alleged financial misconduct. The accused, Lang Bala Sawo, has been released on bail since Monday.

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