Belgium had advised The Gambia government NOT to award Passport & I.D Card Contracts to Semlex 
Recap – The minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambedou has his knickers caught up in a twist, for the more he opens his mouth, ever consumed by lies: No politician shall trick and twist the Gambian people ever again and get away with it – for a new generation, new ideas, new ways of thinking and attitude is on the ascendancy:
Lets begin – New evidence is slowly creeping out this week on the passport and I.D card debacle dominating Gambian discourse circles amid frustration and much anger. The self-inflicted crisis confronting the Barrow government has flared up tempers among the public felt lied to in the procurement of its national identity documentations. 
Barely 48 hours ago, an official at the ministry of foreign affairs in Banjul has confirmed to me that the government of Belgium had written to its Gambian counterpart warning them NOT to award any contract to the aforesaid company, under heavy investigations by Belgian prosecutors. 
This stunning piece of information, if found to be true, and i have no reason to doubt the official, will have exposed the lies and deceit at the heart of the Barrow government in its desperate attempt at secrecy. The offices of the Brussels based company was raided by investigators on several occasions searching for evidence on bribery and corruption charges in its scandalous dealing in Mozambique, DRC Congo, Angola, Somalia, Bissau Guinea, Comoros Islands – you may as well add The Gambia to the mix now. This morning, i stand to lodge a complaint at the Belgian embassy in london for investigations to extend hand into how Semlex came to acquire this very suspicious deal in The Gambia!!! The African Union and UN shall be copied too:
For starters – evidence in the public domain points to an outstanding arrest warrant on several official at Semlex on fraud and corruption charges for shading dealings across poorly governed African states. So why the hell would Gambia hand them the deal – even though we had warned government to the contrary. I was made to believe the president may not necessarily be aware of the letter from the Belgian government warning so – as Tambedou and co play hide and seek with information – beholden to semlex (*). What happen to ‘due diligence’ before dissing out lucrative contracts to foreign firms, especially one concerning the biometric data of an entire nation-state??? The danger and damage to Gambia’s long term national security here is major!
On the president’s recent address to parliament on the state of the nation speech, i thought he delivered a somewhat good speech in laying out his government’s development priorities for the year ahead. But i have to say something amiss run through the veins made to wonder, as the speech was laden with inaccuracies, omissions, even falsehood in parts: It is maddening that the president could not specify anything on the controversial I.D card scheme, nor elaborate on the oil and other mineral resource exploration a-many-Gambian is worried about. There is rising concern among the public,even oil experts internationally, that the contracts with FAR were not structured in Gambia’s best interest. For instance, the CEO of FAR Australia, Cathy Norman, has revealed that it sold 40% of Gambian wells (two it hold) to Petronas, approved by the Barrow government, without parliamentary scrutiny / approval, nor informed the public! Further shares are being sold off further enriching the Australian company & its shareholders – what the heck is The Gambia and its people getting out of this?!
 
On the new ‘dalasi’ money printing – one came to learn that approval was granted: One now hope local journalists will raise such questions at the next presser as, which foreign company was assigned the contract? And at what cost to the treasury? To be fair i see no problem for Gambia to outsource its money printing for the time being; but had visionary planning being in place, as ‘Pristine Consulting’ has the foresight, technology and talent to be a Gambian multinational conglomerate as a force for good in transforming Gambia and Africa’s corporate environment. But the company was denied by this government, for a Justice ministry caught lying time and time again. How can a government minister preside over a contract situation when his own brother, a rogue/rotten piece (*) happen to be Semlex’s lobby and lawyer. Why is that not conflict of interest Gambia??? And where are The Gambia police to investigate this blatant naked corruption?
 
On the oil thing and such mineral resources discovered in the country – all Gambians own the damn thing, so why the great secrecy?! The administration better ensure that Gambia’s national interest is served in clear light. Giving the president the benefit of doubt, i’m afraid the ill-advised machinations and secret collusion by officials in his government has rendered The Gambia for sale to outside interest. I stick by the assertion that the so-called investment desk at State House is an executive overreach, undemocratic, encroaching on GIEPAs remit – putting up the presidency for sale to foreign interest or anyone willing to pay biggest bribes. Please, close it down if you want to have any reputation or legacy left!!!
People tell me Gambians don’t respect their own, for every time the president spits, i see EU aid & Chinese contracts failing off his mouth. Look, for a tiny country with over a billion barrels in oil reserves – why the heck do we need foreign aid, or guidance on how to run a democracy? As clear as a bright daylight – The Gambian people are the masters of our own internal / national security. And at a time of peace, there is no need for paranoia Mr president?! About time ECOMIG forces prepare to leave – for their mandate will NOT be renewed. 
Still on the oil thing, as it pertains to Gambias success or failure in the next five or so years – the initial reported estimates on the two blocks assigned to FAR Ltd was projected to contain 1.1 billion barrels of oil. But as production draws near, FAR has revised that down to 825 million barrels. Is the Gambia govt doing its own independent findings on this, for it all looks murky & fishy indeed?! Gambia, do not be surprised for further announcement where that number may be revised further downwards. Clueless and foolish countries and leaders in the developing ‘South’ have always been taken advantage of; what make you think that is about to change?!
 
Equally as urgent – The Gambia need to build an oil refinery to diversity into various petrochemical products, locationing a supply hub for West Africa and the world. The country has the means to supply ‘home-grown’ fuels to aeroplanes and ships plying the Gambia route – for an industry capable of creating over ten thousand brand new jobs that cannot be outsourced. The potential to earn foreign currency reserves is profound, so why the wait mr president?!

On the State of the Nation address, the various parliamentary committees must look to summon govt ministers to answer questions on sectoral projects under portfolio with regards to the NDP and such issues under signed. Although parts of the speech did impress,the legislative proposals with regards to rearrangement of certain government functionaries in particular, there remain much work to be done.

As for the true ‘State Of The Nation’ – I’m afraid the health of the nation is diagnosed ‘critical’ and ‘worrying’ pertaining to high levels of national debt in situ, The painful interest payments on the debt alone (4 billion dalasis 2017) (estimated 5 billion dalasis 2018) has bankrupted the country. Although one recognise the mess with the finances happen to be the work of APRC years and that of the clueless Amadou Sanneh, I trust finance minister Njie’s expertise will help bridge sanity to the coffers in the long run. Still, every minister, Education & Health especially, Governors and heads of various parastatals as GRA and others must be summoned to parliament to account for their role – if real democracy is to germinate and grow branch in The Gambia. 

 
Sincerely, i thank the president for raising the plight of the people of Palestine at the UN. He gave a very good speech. On a recent visit to Jerusalem, prayers were said for the country at Masjid Al -Aqsa, we have a special country, lets treat her right.
 
For patriotism and love of country:  #Speaker #Parliament #Democracy #Peace #Success

BY GIBRIL SAINE, UK
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