Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The truth behind Mambury Njie's case

Mr. Mambury Njie has occupied or had direct influence in every significant financial and economic portfolio, in addition to serving as Foreign Minister and Ambassador to Taiwan in Yaya Jammeh's regime.  He was, therefore, a trusted personal envoy of the Gambian dictator and has acted on numerous occasions as the carrier of personal messages of his former boss.

The bottom fell off abruptly, as it is usually the case with Jammeh, between the former collaborators, and it has been a downward slide ever since.  He first faced the charge of wrongly advising Jammeh in a mining concession deal involving an Australian mining concern that, the regime claimed, caused huge financial losses to government.

According to the dictatorship, this advise was made in 2001, thirteen years ago.  After being intermittently placed under house arrest and police custody, he was granted bail only to have it revoked, we believe.  The charges were modified to add a charge that almost every senior official who has worked under Jammeh and has been taken to court was charged i.e. economic crime.   He was also charged with negligence of official duty.

The former Minister is privy to many of Jammeh's dealings, both official and private.  Mambury Njie served as Gambia's Ambassador to Taiwan, a post that is occupied by close confidants of Jammeh.  It is generally a well known fact that Taiwan acted as Jammeh's ATM, the financial transactions of which have always been handled outside of the budgetary and accounting process.  Mambury Njie has worked as a senior official in the Jawara regime in the Finance Ministry, and should, therefore, be familiar with the inner workings of the Treasury Department.

Since the diplomatic rupture, a lot has been revealed about the Taiwan millions and who ended up benefiting from them.  Former Ambassadors to Taiwan can shed light on the vexing problem of the hundreds of millions of dollars Taiwan provided to The Gambia ostensibly as development aid.  Many former occupants of this key position in the Jammeh regime have either died, or are in exile.  The three former occupants who happen to be in The Gambia are under close surveillance, and all are out of a job.

The mining concession that Jammeh negotiated and signed with Carnegie Minerals of Australia has been referred to the World Bank's International Center of Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) for arbitration when the regime suddenly accused the company of breaching the contract.  Mambury Njie is a key player in this and similar deals involving petroleum companies who are also taking Jammeh to arbitration.

If previous arbitration decisions, especially the one involving ALIMENTA is anything to go by which ended costing the regime US$ 11 million, the costs of the Carnegie and the African Petroleum cases should they win, will be prohibitively high.   Should this happen, it would then be easier to point fingers at Mambury Njie than sharing in the blame of mismanaging the economy.

Mambury Njie is Yaya Jammeh's insurance policy as he sees the freight train barreling towards him.  So you can tell that we do not buy into the entire notion all his troubles started with his objection to the recent execution of the nine death row prisoners.  They are deeper and extend further than that.