Thursday, August 31, 2017

African Petroleum Corporation threatens Gambia with resorting to arbitration

Barrow (R) with APC CEO, counsel and CFO
In its interim financial report for the first half of the 2017 financial year released moments ago, the African Petroleum Corporation Limited (APCL) informs its shareholders that the CEO, accompanied by his Chief Financial Officer (CFO), visited The Gambia twice in February and July of this year and held discussions with the new Gambian President who succeeded Yaya Jammeh in January 2017.

During both visits, the APCL executives met with President Adama Barrow primarily to reaffirm the company's position that it's the rightful and legal owner of the A1 and A4 licences.

African Petroleum Corporation also made it clear to the Government of The Gambia and, in no uncertain terms, that the company is ready to utilize the dispute resolution mechanism provisions - meaning, going to arbitration - should the government refuse to consider the amendments they are seeking.

The mid-year financial report also informs shareholders that the company has invested over $60 million  and the company has, in no small measure, contributed a great deal in developing the industry and, in the interest of both the company and the Government of The Gambia, they'd rather see a deescalation of the impasse than to allow the situation to descend into a legal dispute.

Despite their appeal for reason to prevail, the report proceeded to notify Government that APCL is in the process finalizing the necessary legal preparations to go to arbitration in order to protect their legal rights.  African Petroleum describe the current stalemate as "a fluid situation" and for this reason, and also the fact that there are commercial and legal sensitivities, the company executives are restricted as to what they can say on the matter.

While the executives of African Petroleum are driven by the desire to protect shareholder value, the Government of Adama Barrow must be guided by its solemn oath to protect and defend the welfare of the 2 million Gambians who are among the world's poorest.

A1 and A4 contracts were negotiated under a cloak of secrecy by one of Africa's most corrupt regimes whose primary interest was to protect the financial interest of a dictator who saw and treated The Gambia as his personal property. Gambians demand that a fair and open process be adopted in any future negotiations with APCL that must require the engagement of the services of a new international legal team to assist Government.