Monday, September 03, 2018

Mr. President, as you are currently attending the Forum on China- Africa Cooperation (FOCAC 2018), Summit in Beijing, China, we hope you will use this opportunity to strengthen bilateral relationships between The Gambia and China.

This Summit is held every three years in either China or Africa.  The last one was held in South Africa 2015, and in 2016 Africa benefited from 60 billion U.S. dollars financed projects from China. It’s a summit in which a great opportunity awaits African countries. In this year’s summit, it is expected that China will help Africa among other things: trade, agricultural transformation, industrial development and science and technology in which The Gambia would not an exception.

Mr. President when you hold bilateral talks with President XI Jinping, we advise that you sell your development plan blueprint to the Chinese president and to encourage Chinese investors to come and invest in the country. We also advise that you seek assistance from the Chinese government to help in some of our priority areas such as roads construction, agriculture, water and energy supply, education, health and infrastructure.

Last month, the Chinese government awarded 47 scholarships to students to further their education in China which is very timely especially at this stage in which our education system is collapsing.  This is also an opportunity for you to seek for more assistance from the Chinese government to intervene in the education system of the country.

Mr. President, following the widespread news of the D36, 123,000 saga deposited to the First lady’s foundation; Fatoumatta Bah Barrow Foundation and the awaiting of the investigations to conclude, this is an opportunity for you to discuss this issue with your Chinese counterpart to know the truth behind this alleged money transfer.

Many believed that the transfer was done by a Chinese manufacturing company which deals with power transformers, in order to be awarded a contract on Water and Electricity in rural areas.

Presently, there are contradicting statements by the foundation as the CEO of the foundation said “we do not know how the money was transferred but we will investigate it at board level.” But pundits believed it’s a joke to say “we don’t know how the money was transferred.”

Sources have also revealed that the transfer was made on the 18th of December 2017 by one Chinese manufacturing of power transformers and the money was withdrawn on the same day and paid to White Portuguese Charter Airline TBE Company limited.

Finally, Mr. President you should be aware that, The Gambia in 2003 enacted the Money Laundering Act which established the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The FIU maybe dormant but yet it’s an important institution entrusted to tackle corruption. The functions of the FIU is to maintain records of banking transactions, enter suspicious premises, collect documents, conduct investigations, manage, control and ensure that currencies leaving or entering the country is properly regulated.

The FIU should be left to do its duties by entrusting them the responsibility to investigate this matter than leaving the Fatoumata Bah Barrow board to do their own internal investigation for accountable, transparency and your government’s willingness to fight corruption in The Gambia.

Have a successful Summit, Mr. President

Good day!