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Gambia Gov’t Ordered To Pay WAA Company £20 million In Damages

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Ebrima G Sankareh, Government Spokesperson

By Buba Gagigo

In a press release dated March 29, 2024, the Gambian government announced its defeat in a legal battle against West African Aquaculture Limited (WAA). The verdict from the Paris-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) requires the Gambia Government to pay £20 million in damages related to actions taken during former President Yahya Jammeh’s tenure.

According to the Gambia Government’s announcement, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Paris has issued a ruling on the legal dispute between the government and West African Aquaculture Limited (WAA). The case concerns the expropriation of the WAA Shrimp Farming business owned by Mr. and Mrs. Hansson in the West Coast villages of Pirang and Sanyang. This expropriation was carried out by former President Yahya Jammeh on June 3, 2015.

“However, in the wake of the change of Government in 2017, followed by unsuccessful negotiations, the WAA’s proprietors referred the matter to the ICSID for arbitration. After almost six (6) years of deliberations, the tribunal ruled that former President Jammeh’s actions were unlawful and ordered The Gambia Government to compensate WAA, the sum of Eight Million, Seven Hundred Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty-Three British Pound Sterling (£8, 700, 233.00) for damages. In addition, an 8% interest on the said sum is compounded annually from June 3, 2015, to the date of payment plus cost and legal fees. The total award stands at more than Twenty Million British Pounds Sterling (£20 million),” the government said.

The statement further elaborated that the verdict in this case highlights the repercussions of the previous President Jammeh’s ‘reckless’ disregard for the Rule of Law, as well as his ‘temperamental’ and ‘arbitrary’ decision-making, which persistently haunt the current administration in adverse ways.

“In light of this development, The Gambia Government is considering various options, including, but not limited to, appealing the tribunal’s decision. Significantly, the Barrow Government is still paying damages for similar cases awarded by international tribunals against the Government among them, ALIMANTA S.A., former operators of The Gambia Groundnut Cooperation whose foreign management were arbitrarily arrested and expelled by Mr. Yahya Jammeh in 1998,” the government said.

As the Government acknowledges these significant financial losses, the statement emphasizes President Adama Barrow’s commitment to preventing executive overreach, especially concerning international businesses operating in The Gambia. It also urges Government officials and agencies to consistently exercise good faith, restraint, and respect for due process in carrying out their official responsibilities.

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