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Amadou Samba – A Brief Biography Culled from The Gambia News And Report, December 1992

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Mr. Amadou Samba was born in a polygamous family set up at 34 Wellington Street, the so-called “Half Die” area of Banjul. His father was the late Abdoulie Samba (Bokul Fashion i.e special, different), a well-known building contractor and philanthropist.

Amadou’s mother is Aja Oumie Jallow. He has been her first child and only son. Amadou has three sisters from his mother’s side, and several other half brothers and sisters within the larger family set-up. He disclosed that one of his half sisters [Mary] is, like himself, a lawyer. Born on 29 September 1951, Amadou first attended Albion Primary School, from 1957 to 1961, and St. Mary’s Primary School, from 1961 to 1965. From there, he went to Bo in Sierra Leone to the Ahmadiyya Secondary School. He later transferred to Jaima Secondary School, also in Sierra Leone, in 1966. It was at Jaima that the young Amadou sat for and passed the GCE School Leaving Certificate Examination with 7 credit passes in 1970, another significant year when The Gambia became a republic.

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From 1970-72, Amadou was at the Albert Academy in Freetown. After passing his GCE Advanced Level Certificate with four credit passes at the academy, he returned to Banjul the same year and joined the staff of the Judiciary as a Clerk of Courts. This work, at the Banjul Magistrates Court, ended in 1976 when he left for Nigeria to study for LL.B Honours degree at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.
On graduation in 1980, Amadou entered the Nigerian Law School from where he qualified in 1981 to practice as a Barrister at Law. He had actually started to work for a “prominent” Nigerien Law Firm, Rhodes and Rhodes, when, in late July, 1981, he paid a family visit to Banjul. By coincidence, it was another significant date in The Gambia’s history.

As he recounted later, “I arrived on Thursday and the next Thursday the coup attempt took place.” How did he feel about it? “I felt very bad,” he replied. “It was a very bad welcome for me”. Bad as the welcome was, however, Amadou was to stay on in Banjul instead of going back to his job in Lagos. “I did not intend to stay and practice here as my visit was a family one. But when I visited the Attorney General’s Chambers to see some of my colleagues, the then AG requested me to help with the rebel cases.” And it was in this way that Amadou said he started working for the A.G.’s Chambers, staying on even after the rebel cases finished. He served in the capacity of State Counsel, rising to the post of Senior State Counsel by 1983. Between 1983 to 1986, the year he left the chambers to work as a private legal practitioner in Banjul, Amadou spent a year in India, 1984-1985, to undertake post-graduate studies. Thus, he studied international law, and the law of international affairs, at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. He also did a postgraduate diploma in international law, law of international institutions and diplomacy at the Indian Academy of International Law and Diplomacy.

Thus, it came as no surprise when on his return to Banjul he was included in the Gambian delegation to the Law of the Sea Conference in Kingston, Jamaica. But by then Amadou had already taken a decision to leave the Chambers and set up his own private practice.

“I asked myself, if illiterates can do business, how much more somebody who had education”. Why not indeed. And this way, Amadou, whose father had died in the meantime reentered the world of the private sector. Looking at the business climate in the country then, he said he found that a lot of people were [more] comfortable than “some of us who spent so many years studying”. It was thus with some frantic activity that in 1986, the year he went into private practice , that he helped found and became the head or sole owner of no less than three companies namely ALFRON Gambia Import/Export Co. Ltd Mohsam Fisheries Gambia Ltd., for which two companies he served as Managing Director. The Amasa Shipping Agency, of which he is proprietor, was also formed.

By 1992, Amadou had become President and Chairman of GACEM Company Ltd, He had also married Katty Joh, the mother of his three children, (two girls and a boy). Not bad, for one who is only 41 years old.

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