By Alagie Manneh
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed to The Standard the return of its interdicted deputy permanent secretary, Mr Melville Roberts, to the country.
Mr Roberts was reportedly suspended from his post and recalled to Banjul in the wake of accusations of sexual assaults levelled against him by several Gambian women.
At least five women accused Mr Robertson of sexually abusing them. Mr Roberts who was completing a postgraduate degree at Oxford University when the slew of torrid sex allegations surfaced, has denied them.
Contacted for update on Mr Roberts’ case, Saikou Ceesay, communications officer at the Foreign ministry, said: “Given the sensitive nature of the matter, we seek your indulgence to give us time while we wait for the submission of the report from the concerned department.
Let’s remember that it was in fact Mr Roberts who decided on his own accord to return voluntarily to The Gambia.”
There were reports that following his return, Mr Roberts was arrested by the police and released on bail.
However, Lala Touray, a key member of the #SurvivngMelville activist group, said contrary to what was being circulated, Mr Roberts was in fact never arrested, despite a warrant arrest being issued for him.
“When he went to the police, he was told that he had no case to answer. One thing I do know is that Melville held a very important position, and he has friends in the police and lawyers who are very powerful. He is using that to tell his victims that there is nothing they can do to him. The police need to tell us why despite a warrant, he was never arrested,” she fumed.
Activist Absa Samba, said the “inaction” of the government since the issue broke out suggested it was not interested in the matter.
“The inaction towards Melville is not only a validation of such ill-conduct, it is a grave injustice against the women whose rights and lives have been violated,” she said.
Police spokesman ASP Lamin Njie said Mr Roberts was not arrested because upon his return to the country he surrendered himself to the police. “Investigations are still on. The matter of course will be thoroughly investigated and the outcome will be made known to the public,” he said.
The Standard contacted Mr Roberts but he declined to comment to this medium on this matter.
However, a source claiming knowledge of the case, said no arrest warrant was ever issued for Mr R oberts.