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Monday, September 28, 2020

Letters to the Editor

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Why are authorities silent about the First Lady’s Foundation?

Dear editor,

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Any office to which monies from the Consolidated Fund are provided is a public office according to our Constitution. The Office of the First Lady receives money from the Consolidated Fund, therefore it is a public office. For that matter if that office is the recipient of dubious amount of money from foreign sources then the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly as well as the Fraud Squad of The Gambia Police Force must inquire into the circumstances surrounding those funds.

Recently the First Lady’s foundation inexplicably received huge amounts of foreign currency from abroad yet both the National Assembly and the police did not act. Why? Yes the foundation is not a public office but the Foundation is run by the Office of the First Lady which is a public office. Therefore the authorities need to investigate to ensure that public money and private money are not mixed inside a public office or that the public office is not used to acquire funds from dubious sources and dubious circumstances.
Revelations at the Janneh Commission are enough to show how a foundation connected with the president or his spouse can become a major source and outlet for the fraudulent movement of funds from public and private sources.

In that regard the Financial Intelligence Unit need to also investigate to ensure that there are no cases of money laundering or terrorism financing. Why are the relevant authorities quiet?

Madi Jobarteh
Kembujeh

 

 

Gambia and the oil contractual arrangements

Dear editor,

The prospective offshore oil exploration has generated a lot of public interests. The Gambia government is accused of not being transparent, as oppose to our neighbours Senegal. The Senegalese have been very open, conducting public debates, sensitising the public about all the contractual arrangements they entered into.

In The Gambia the issue came to the forefront as a result of a television interview conducted by FAR Ltd the company contracted to handle the extraction.
“FAR Ltd has signed a farm-out agreement with a subsidiary of Petronas for a 40 percent interest in each of The Gambia’s blocks A2 and A5. Following the deal, Petronas will fund 80 percent of the total well costs of the Samo-1 exploration well, up to a maximum total cost of $45 million. Petronas will also fund FAR’s share of non-well costs up to a maximum amount of $1.5 million.”
This equals a maximum of US$37.5 million for the 40% of the shares.
Can we assume then that the 20% shares of ERIN should be valued and sold by The Gambia for US$18.5 million.

Sure but now the market have spoken we know how much FAR sold the 40% at 700,000 per share.
Therefore the government should get minimum 700,000 per share for the 20% of the ERIN (now bankrupt) instead rumour had it that they sold it already to FAR at US$5 million … So that FAR can sell it for US$14 million. Going by these contractual arrangements The Gambia stand to lose a whopping amount to the tune of millions of dollars.

FAR Financials note page 6, why how and who “The Parent Company Guarantee provided to the Gambian Ministry of Energy as a result of the farmout has been reduced from US$33,000,000 to US$6,600,000 for the initial Exploration Period of the Block A2 Licence Agreement.”
The Gambia government should release the contractual arrangements for public scrutiny. In matters of public interest such as the sale of natural resources transparency is the only we can avoid corruption leading to massive loss of revenue. Looking the figures as tabulated above its apparent that the government instead of selling its shares for US$5 million, it can sell it for a whopping US$19 million, the arithmetic speaks for itself. As concerned citizens, for the sake of probity, accountability and transparency we demand the government to act in the public interest and make a public declaration regarding all the contractual arrangements.

 

Re: Angry pilgrims demand refunds from hajj operator

Dear editor,

It is time for government to step in and ensure people’s demand meet their expectations once they pay their hard-earned money. Government should stop inept and bogus travel agencies. Government should make sure all agencies provide insurance for each customer as a standard practice. Government should also ensure the services the agencies provide meet the requisite high standards. If government fails to do their job after people complain, it will boomerang on them. D250,000 or a quarter of a million dalasis is way beyond the affordability of the average Gambian. Going on hajj is hard enough physically on the pilgrim. Therefore they should not be subjected to any undue and avoidable stresses.

Tafel
[email protected]

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