Friday, October 6, 2017

Another bad investment by Social Security

On the 28th February, 2014, we wrote this about Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation's panache to bad and dubious use (or misuse) of pensioners' money.  Here is what we said as the Commission of Inquiry is delving into the corporation's investment activities.   

Edward Graham, Managing Director

Edward Graham, Managing Director of Gambia's Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) is back to doing what he did that landed him in prison fairly recently, that is investing social security funds in a very callous and indiscriminate manner at the direction of Yaya Jammeh.

It was on the 15th February 2012 that the infamous Cameroon-born Special Criminal Court Judge Emmanuel Nkea - Jammeh's hanging judge who has himself absconded last month - sentenced him to a one-year mandatory prison term with hard labor for causing a D 73,000, equivalent to less than $2,000 (two thousand ) loss to the Home Finance Company, a subsidiary of SSHFC.  He served less than his mandatory sentence before he was strung from prison, by presidential pardon and returned to his position as head of the Agency legally entrusted with the Provident and Pension Funds.

We have been highly critical of the investment strategy of the SSHFC with a portfolio that includes investments in the tourism and transport sectors at a time when both sectors have been under performing. The corporation has also been involved in dubious partnerships with Yaya Jammeh and his business partners in the Gulf that seem to be directed by Zainab Jammeh.  Bad investments in the past have resulted in a weakened the financial integrity of SSHFC to the point that the corporation had to delay paying salaries.

The latest of these highly dubious joint venture partnerships is the United Arab Emirates' BPI Group based in Dubai and headed by one Dimitris Sophocleous.  This new venture is coming at the heels of another failed joint venture between Government/GPA and the Greek company Gallia Holdings which has left two inappropriately-built and ill-fitted ferries costing Gambian tax payers over $ 8 million sitting in the Banjul harbor when the present ferries plying Banjul - Barra are in dangerous disrepair.

It now appears that the same players who brought us the Aljandu and Kansala ferries are the very same people forcing Edward Graham to enter into yet another venture that is bound to fail.

Yaya Jammeh, Zainab Jammeh and their cronies in the Gulf with the Gambian middleman currently stuck in Banjul are responsible for this ill-advised housing venture named the BPI Social Security Housing.

This new partnership puts the social security contributions and, indeed, the pension funds of ordinary Gambian workers in jeopardy by exposing it to a housing market that is under-developed, and actually contracting because of recent government policy of bulldozing houses built by Gambian retirees and foreign investors that the regime consider to have been improperly permitted.

Mr. Graham is obviously following the directives of Yaya Jammeh who will most certainly blame the Managing Director should the venture fail, as it most certainly will, paving the way for him to be returned to Milee II, this time for a very, very long time.  We continue to see this movie over and over again; yet they do not seem to learn.