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City of Banjul
Thursday, July 25, 2024

Dear Africa50

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I am a concerned Gambian resident in the United Kingdom. It has come to my knowledge that you signed two agreements with the Gambia government during a meeting attended by the Gambia’s Finance Minister Mr Seedy Keita. The Joint Development Agreement signed with the Gambia’s Finance Minister Mr Seedy Keita indicated that the Gambia’s Senegambia Bridge will be leased to Africa50 for UD$100m plus IRR of 15%.

I want to bring to your attention that this agreement has been condemned by many Gambians across the globe including my humble self. It is also important to point out to you that this agreement has not followed due process from the level of cabinet agreeing to it amongst themselves without channeling it through parliament as required by the constitution of the Gambia. I want to quickly add that the Gambian government is mute over the agreement until activists and journalists started asking questions. Added to that, the Government of the Gambia has not published any information relevant to these two agreements which in itself is against the constitution of the Gambia and by extension Good Corporate Governance.

Sirs, I am concerned that you are getting involved in an enterprise that is not constitutional, that has not been approved by the Gambian Parliament, which makes it not binding on the Gambian public. You are risking your investment for if there is a change of government in 2026 general elections, I can assure you that the Gambia will not be held liable for whatever you are putting into this venture.

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My assessment that this is not in the Gambian people’s interest is based on information I gathered from the Finance Minister himself and I am going to demonstrate this below:

– Current monthly income from the bridge = GMD59m (c$1m)

– This equates to $12m a year and in 25 years = $300m compared to $100 that the finance minister has said we will be getting upfront, being the value of the bridge.

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On financial considerations alone, this is a bad deal for the Gambia.

On the basis that we use the current value of the bridge as informed by the finance minister as the initial outflow and that monthly cash inflow is GMD59m, using an exchange rate of $1 = D58,63 and assuming that there will be fixed cash inflow for the next 25 years, the IRR I derived from this calculation is 11% which makes keeping the bridge more profitable to the Gambian people.

Finally, I want to refer you to the Gambian Constitution at section 155, sub-sections 2 and 3 where it is stated that “any loan agreement to be made shall be laid before the National Assembly and shall not come into effect until it is approved by the National Assembly”. Sub-section 3 states: “no loan shall be raised by the Government on behalf of itself or any other person or authority otherwise than by or under the authority of an Act of the National Assembly.” 

The minister is relying on the Public Finance Act 2014 at sections 35 and 49, which gives him the power to borrow and or lease out national assets without channeling it through the National Assembly. However, Chapter II, Section 4 of the Gambian constitution, which by the way is an entrenched clause states as follows: “This constitution is the supreme Law of The Gambia and any other law found to be inconsistent with any provision of this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void. This indicates that the laws that the finance minister is relying on are inconsistent with the supreme law of the Gambia and are therefore null and void.

For reference purposes, I have attached a copy of both the Gambian Constitution and the Public Finance Act. I have also attached an extract from an excel template I used to calculate the IRR using the formula IRR = (values, guess).

I hope that you will consider this email as a prewarning that you are about to enter into an agreement that is against a sovereign state’s constitution and proven to be NOT in the interest of the Gambia.

Nuha Ceesay

MAAT, FCCA, MSc (Merit), PhD Fellow

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