Gambians, Stop Acting Dumb Over Land Sales!
You are Gambians, you know your people. So why should Estate Agents rob you all so easily??
1995: I came to The Gambia from UK with £1,000s in my pocket. Seller arrives at my hotel (his hotel, he owned it) with his lawyer (Mahoney Snr rip I think). They put a one-page A4 paper as transfer document infront of me for us all to sign – and ask for the money. I laughed loudly. “You want me to give you the money in return for an A4 piece of paper?”, I asked. “Give me a title deed within seven days and collect the money frommy lawyer … or I am going back to the UK with the money”, I said and ended the meeting. In seven days my lawyer got the title-deed and gave them the money – but not before we had subtracted the 15% sellers-tax which we paid ourselves! We also took the sellers own title-deed from the government allocation years back – “you don’t need that anymore”, I said with a smile. I have all the document copied 3 times and saved.
1999: Kenyan guy takes me to beautiful Lake Naivasha near Nairobi, an area I loved as a child and shows me “his” 25m X 25m piece of land. “Come and collect your money at my hotel, with your old title-deed AND my new title-deed”, I said. I waited 3 weeks in Nairobi and then phoned him. “I am trying to get the title-deeds”, he said. I went back to the UK the next day –with my money.
2001: Gambian lawyer had prepared transfer papers and we are ready to sign and exchange money on the land. “Do you have grown-up sons?” I asked the elderly seller. “Four”, he said. Call them I said. Remember the video camera is running.All the sons take the tape measure and measure out my land – on video. Then we sit down and exchange the money on video – counting in thousands. Then we sign the transfer documents – on video. The blessed elderly man died a few years later – and one questions my children’s ownership of the compounds bought for them by their father.
WARNING: Before you part even with one butut, put it on video. Receipts can be lost or be denied. No one can deny video evidence. Explain on video why you are giving the money (my carpenter got dalasi 10,000 to make two wardrobes in 14 days – and he agreed on video, laughing, that I can have the money back if the work is not done in 14 days. He did a good job – in 14 days!).
Editor Mbai, if anyone complains to Freedomnewspaper that they lost their money in a deal made after this my advise asked them for the video. If there is no video, don’t publish their story to help them.
Notting Hill, London.
PS: Pa, got vaccinated … but now we have more dangerous Kent Variants of Covid!