Counsel to Janneh Commission organizes event involving ex-finance minister

Amie Bensouda’s law firm is an exclusive event to charm investors to buy into Gambia’s oil and gas business sectors. The event involves Mambury Njie, who is being questioned by the Commission probing former President Yahya Jammeh.

Energy makes a huge part of the investigation of Jammeh’s illicit financial activities. The former leader took millions from the state-owned oil company, which is now headed by Njie.

Njie also signed checks, which Bensouda pressed were wrong. Bensouda, who is also said to be an attorney for the social security administration is having Njie at her private investor event alongside a man that she says disregarded government financial regulations.

Is it a conflict of interest that Bensouda is helping in the probe of former President Yahya Jammeh and his administration’s financial activities and have those regarded as being complicit helping her talk to businesses on hydrocarbon investment opportunities in the country.

Amie Bensouda & Co. is organizing the event with the London-based law firm, Leighton Paisner and they want to help companies secure licenses for blocks to engage in oil and gas business in The Gambia.

“The petroleum sector has been recklessly managed by the previous regime resulting in loss of future revenue, high-level corruption, false starts and endless litigation with threats of arbitration by Frank Timis’s African Petroleum Corporation,” said economist Sidi Sanneh.

“A Sovereign Wealth Fund modeled on the Norwegian prototype is worthy of consideration to ensure that Gambians yet unborn will benefit from the proceeds of revenue expected to be derived from an estimated 2 – 3 billion barrels that is within our boundaries.”

This is a sector that Bensouda is helping the Commission of Inquiry investigate. Jammeh and his business associates took control of the industry, withdrawing millions at a time from oil accounts.

Jammeh also withdrew monies from accounts when Mambury Njie was Minister of Finance. Bensouda is probing all of these and now inviting Njie to her event.

Should Bensouda be organizing such an event when she is helping probe the activities of this very sector? The fact that she is probing and her increasingly new power and influence should get her to stay away from such activities or resign from the Commission of Inquiry to continue on investor charming program.

Experts, however, say: We must not rush our oil and gas drillings. If we do, history will not be kind to those responsible for squandering the nation’s wealth.

African Petroleum Corporation has launched arbitration proceedings against Gambia over the government’s decision to strip it of its rights to explore for oil in two offshore areas, and the country has settled out of court with an energy company over the unlawful termination of a contract.

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