21 August 2017

Gambia: No Documents Were Presented for Apam Mining Licensing

The assistant director of the Department of Geology on Thursday told the three-member Commission of Inquiry that there were no documents surrendered to them for licensing of the Alhamdulillah Petroleum Mineral (APAM).

Alieu Jawo said they were only told that APAM was an extension of KGI as the parent company. He said the process of application was that the applicant should specify areas of interest.

President Barrow led the swearing-in of the three-man Commission with three-month mandate to probe into the financial transactions of bodies and institutions in connection to their dealings with Gambia's former President Yahya Jammeh.

Testifying on behalf of his director, who was out of jurisdiction, Mr. Jallow told the commission that a letter was sent to them from Ngogu L. Bah, one of Jammeh's secretary general and signed by Momodou Lamin Jaiteh linking APAM to KGI and addressed to the assistant director of Geology Department. He said the letter requested that license should be issued and executive approval was already granted for not only prospective but mining as well.

A resident of Tanji, Mr. Jallow revealed that officials of the Allahamdulliah Petroleum Mineral Company Limited (APAM) approached the Geological Department in December, 2012, expressing interest in prospective mining in the mineral sector.

He said the Geological Department was under the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy under the Office of the President.

According to him, APAM applied for prospective and mining request and cognizance under Section 9 (1 ) and Section 13 (1) and (2) of the Mining and Quarry Act, before applying for mining license, applicants need to apply for prospective to give government information and data on their intention of learning.

Mr. Jawo asserted that they received a directive from the former president's office to issue license to APAM following the termination of GAMICO - a company operating in heavy mineral sand. "The heavy mineral sand is one of the proven mineral resources this country has. It has been hatchment as early as 1925 and since then, there have been extensive investigations on its exploitation. It stands out among the key mineral endearments this country has and between 1955 and 1999, there has been some activities in the mineral sand during colonial era."

Mr. Jawo further disclosed that the British started mining through its subsidiary call Gambia Mining Limited. He said Carnagie Mining Minerals was later granted license in 2005 but it was terminated on 12th February, 2008 by the line ministry. He asserted that a letter was received from the government prior to the termination that they were dissatisfied with their operation and requested an explanation on what their exportations were.

According to him, after the termination of Caniage Mining Minerals, GAMICO came in 2008 through a letter that was not clear to them. He said that the letter even had no signatory.

He told the commission that all the GAMICO stakeholders were foreign nationals and he could remember one Toni Ghattas as one of their managers and one Manha, who was working with Gam Petroleum.

Hearing continues today.


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