Reading through the fallacious article of Pa Njie Girigara, I cannot help but clear the air on some aspects raised in the article. I am not aufait about how he came to connect Mohammed Jah with the USAID to secure funding for the internet gateway project way back in 1998/99 thereabout but I know for sure that the funding was not made to Muhammed Jah in person. When the internet gateway project kicked off in the Gambia in 1989, the United Nations provided the funding to developed the country’s infrastructural capacity to host internet service. Muhammed Jah was then working for Quantum Associates and them being the most viable company to man the technological requirements of the project, they got license from the government to be an Internet Service Provider and this led to the formation of QuantumNET Company. When Quantum Associates broke up, Mohammed Jah went away with the internet aspect of the business. With time, QCELL and other products were added to his company’s profile. Whether he had foreign partners or so, we must understand that we live in a competitive world and there are a lot of foreign operated businesses in the Gambia.
The other part of the article that requires serious scrutiny is the fact the Pa Njie Girigara is trying to compare his self-imposed exile to Mustafa Njie’s (TAF) departure from the Gambia. Yes, they are both operating business elsewhere and surviving but TAF did not leave the Gambia due to economic stagnation. He left because he was literally chased out of the Gambia by Yahya Jammeh. The core of the TAF-Jammeh problem started with the building of the AU Presidential Villas. When TAF got that contract, he ordered a lot of goods and secured duty waivers to expedite the clearing of the goods from customs. After the AU Summit, Yahya Jammeh apparently asked TAF to pay him millions of dollars because he evaded tax. Instead of paying the Gambia Customs if TAF owed anything, Jammeh wanted the money to be paid to him in dollars. In the process, Jammeh took the AU Villas from TAF by force which in part caused him to close his businesses over time.
Now from what I can gather from Pa Njie Girigara’s article, he left the Gambia because companies like Africell, QCELL, Gamcel either did not patronize his business or stopped doing business with him. This he said led to his business which had a workforce of 32 people to collapse and his machines are gradually dilapidating in his warehouse. So in effect, Mr. Pa Njie Girigara is undoubtedly an angry man because his business could not survive the tide of time in the Gambia.
It is also not clear to me how rich Pa Njie Girigara is as he claims but I can say with confidence that his claim to be richer than Muhammed Jah is just childish talk. I think now that Yayha Jammeh is no longer in the Gambia, someone like Pa Njie Girigara who claimed to have contributed D 5 million to oust him should return to the Gambia and display his riches in the form of investment. The Gambian youths need jobs so his money will help a lot in the economic development of the Gambia
Also, on the issue of economic patriotism which is making him lose sleep, he should be advised that foreign companies invest their money in the Gambia, they pay taxes, they employ Gambians and they contribute in many aspects of the country’s development. There is no law in the Gambia which bars foreign investment so Gambian companies are free to compete. The mere mention of Muhammed Jah’s economic patriotism phrase has angered Pa Njie Girigara and I think he needs a glass of water to cool down for a while.
In retrospect, Muhammed Jah is a successful businessman whether he has partners in other countries or all what not. I do not know of Mr. Jah being a greedy man and wanting to grab all sorts of business. The guy has a lot of business acumen and he invested thoroughly in the Gambia and we should recognize and respect that.
By: Someone who knows both of them.