TAT has been reporting on the ongoing Gampetroleum saga, and one pertinent question is – what is the role of the Gambia government in Gampetroleum?
The government recently held a news conference on the Gampetroleum affair, and made a statement on developments at the company, as reported by TAT. TAT also carried a report giving GACH’s response. These most welcomed efforts by them at being transparent was well noted by the public.
They have responded to what is an issue of public interest, as well as a matter with grave implications for national security – thus the govt deemed it necessarily to involved the “security services” in its probe.
A press release inviting the media to the news conference said the ministers of Information, Petroleum/Energy will be there to talk to the press.
The Trade minister gave a statement and, among other things, we learned from him that Gampetroleum is a “private limited liability company”. That has left many asking why then the govt is taking the lead in this matter? Of course, we know that any criminal or national security matter is of concern to the state.
However, one would assume that for a “private” company, its board chairman, CEO/MD or company spokesperson would be out there talking to the press; not our govt ministers.
TAT in an earlier report stated that the SSHFC and GPA are shareholders in the company, and that raises the question – is Gampetroleum a public-private partnership (PPP)?
Definitely, we need clarity here. The onus is on the govt to come out and clarify this particular issue.
This is because the press has its constraints in accessing information, and to then properly inform the public contemporaneously.
In any case, the public has been wondering why a team of govt ministers will come out to talk about, and explain what has happened at a “private” company.
It is obvious though that it was a good move for the govt to come out and talk on a matter of national interest. And, let us hope that the govt continues to give it the seriousness it deserves.
The Trade minister in his statement, as carried by TAT, declared that the police will do their job, and let us hope that is the case.
What is of concern though is whether the investigations will be concluded and findings made public before the election, or delayed until after the election.
That is, will the govt stall or will it let the police do a quick probe, and come out with the facts.
This will depend on whether or not those entities and persons with an interest in the outcome get the upper hand in determining how far and deep the probe goes.
Indeed, considering that we are just days from the crucial Dec4 election, the public must be vigilant to see how the sitting govt steers the issue.
For how things unfold now should influence how people vote; and, post the election, how the new govt continues to handle the Gampetroleum affair will determine how things pan out.