Gov’t to Pay WAA £20m

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The Gambia Government has been ordered to compensate West African Aquaculture (WAA) more than twenty million British Pounds Sterling (£20 million).

The compensated amount is equivalent to one billion, seven hundred and nine million, two hundred thousand Gambian dalasi (D1.7 billion approximately).

The payment is ordered by International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on the legal case between WAA and The Gambia.

Therefore, the tribunal asked The Gambia Government to compensate WAA with £8,700, 233.00 for damages.

An addition of an 8% interest on the said sum compounded annually from June 3rd, 2015 to the date of payment would also be paid.

On top of that, the Gambia Government has to also pay all the cost and legal fees of the case.

This will cost the Gambia Government more than £20 million or D1.7 billion.

WAA Shrimp Farming business was operating in Pirang and Sanyang villages in West Coast Region.

However, the company was expropriated by Yahya Jammeh on June 3rd, 2015.

The company owned by Kurt Lennart Hansson and Martje Bolt Hansson, of Swedish and Australian nationality respectively.

The new Government that replaced Jammeh’s government was unsuccessful in negotiations with WAA’s proprietors.

The matter was referred to the ICSID for arbitration in May 2018.

The tribunal in its decision on March 25, 2024 ordered the Gambia Government to compensate the company for its unlawful appropriation. 

 The verdict came after almost six years of deliberations on the case.

The tribunal ruled that former President Yahya Jammeh’s actions were unlawful.

‘This case exposes the consequences of former President Jammeh’s reckless disregard for the Rule of Law and his temperamental and arbitrary decisions that continue to negatively haunt the current administration,’ Ebrima G. Sankareh, the Gambia Government Spokesperson & Presidential Diaspora Adviser said.

The Spokesperson added that the Gambia Government is considering various options on the WAA case including appealing the tribunal’s decision.

The current Government is still paying damages for similar cases caused by its predecessor, the Spokesperson added.

In a similar case awarded by international tribunals against the Government is the Alimenta case.

Alimenta owned by Swiss nationals is the former operator of The Gambia Groundnut Corporation.

Alimenta S.A. of Geneva bought the processing plant, Gambia Oilseed Processing and Marketing Company (GOPMAC) in 1993 and re-named it as Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC).

GOPMAC was formed as a limited liability Company following the repeal of The Gambia Produce Marketing Board Act of 1993.

The repeal led to the waiver of GPMB’s monopoly on groundnut exports in the country.

This allowed private sector to be involved in the activities of the groundnut value chain.

GPMB assets relating to groundnut processing and marketing were sold to GOPMAC which was bought by Alimenta at 20 million dalasi.

Therefore, Alimenta became the company responsible for buying and exporting groundnut in the country.

However, in 1998, Alimenta management were arbitrarily arrested and expelled by the Gambia Government.

In 1999, the government shut down the company by presidential decree and reverted as a State-Owned Enterprise.

Alimenta filed a case against the Gambia government claiming that the government takeover of the claimant’s groundnuts processing plant.

The Gambia Government at the time accused the company on allegations of money laundering.

However, the Gambia Government eventually settled the matter out of court and agreed to pay Alimenta compensation of $11.2 million in 2001.

According to the Government Spokesperson, the Government is still paying Alimenta for damages.