By Dr. Mannet
I seldom contribute to online debates about people or events happening in our country in spite of my strong views about the direction our country is heading. Today, and may be for the last time, I am writing, driven by my conviction to set the records straight about the Amadou Samba I know. I am also choosing the pen-name – Dr. Mannet – to symbolize that key protagonist in Charles Dickens’ celebrated novel – A Tale of Two Cities.
Within a period of 7 days, I have seen two articles portraying Amadou Samba as The Gambia’s angel that deserves our respect, sympathy and commendation. Without doubt, people are entitled to their opinion but caution demands that such opinion be given on solid facts. After reading the two articles, one written by Ebrima G Sankareh and the latest by Sam Sarr, I realized that both authors either do not know Amadou Samba well enough and consequently wrote out of ignorance, or they have simply chosen to ignore what is obvious even to the most casual observer of events here in The Gambia. As a Gambian living in The Gambia and going through the daily hardship without complaining for fear of reprisals, I do not know what both authors’ motives were but I can assure them one thing: their respective articles have shattered their public credibility especially Mr. Sankareh, who I had previously regarded as an icon when it comes to journalism in The Gambia. I will now reveal what both authors do not know or have chosen to ignore about Amadou Samba. This is knowledge gathered first hand and, in some cases, through people whose paths in life had, at one time or the other, crossed that of Mr. Samba.
I hold no grudges against Amadou Samba but I passionately hate his arrogance and Mafioso-like character which is mostly known only to those in the business world and those who have worked under him. Amadou has been variously described in the two articles as a generous, kind-hearted and nice person who is creating jobs for Gambians through his businesses. I do not know for others but my understanding of generosity and kindness is that they begin with those close to you. If those close to you see only the ugly side of you, then your generosity and kindness are nothing but what my people call “Samba Alarr”, a charade. Please let the authors do their research by seeking out those who have worked for Mr. Samba in one of his numerous companies in this country and sound their opinion about the treatment including the threats and abuses regularly dished out to them by their “generous” and “kind-hearted” fellow. How does it feel when you use the labour of a person for 30 days and it was time to pay him but instead you either hold the payment for a couple of weeks or sack the worker altogether without salary for very flimsy excuses? Amadou Samba used to own a company called Gamsen that was involved in the Airport construction alongside Pierre GoudiabiAtepa, a well-known architect from Senegal. How many people worked for Gamsen in that airport project and what has been their monthly experiences working for that company? After the completion of work and the handing over of the airport, the terminal building continued to leak like an old basket. Was Mr. Samba or Gamsen the most qualified to win that contract? If not, how did he win it? We understood and appreciated the sense of patriotism in the then Chairman Jammeh who, at the time, argued that it was better to give the project to a Gambian company to ensure the creation of jobs and to support the local economy as the money would stay in the country. A sensible argument at the time! If we were to “turn back the hands of time”, borrowing the words of R. Kelly, there would be a re-cogitation of that decision. Yes the money indeed stayed but for whose benefit? Ask the workers of Gamsen for answers.
The same Gamsen Construction was involved in the construction of the headquarters of a new bank owned by some Nigerian investors along Kairaba Avenue in the late 1990s. In August of 1997, the initial structure that was under erection on the same site by Gamsen miraculously crumbled to the ground killing several of the workers. It rained heavily on that fateful day which was part of the factors said to have affected the building. Please ask the relatives of those workers who died in that incident what has been their experience with Mr. Samba since that sad event. As if this was not bad enough, the same Mr. Samba failed to complete the new building for the bank on time as agreed with the Nigerian investors. Decency demands that you compensate the counterparty when you fail to deliver your part of a bargain. However, in this case, the “decent Amadou Samba”, in his wisdom and good judgment, decided to avail the Nigerian pioneers and their skeletal staff, his 3-storey St Mary’s property at Cape Point for on a rent basis. This is after the Nigerian investors had already paid him upfront for the whole construction work. When the bank staff finally moved in, they had a terrible experience in the first year. The whole roof of the building started leaking seriously. How did I know? I used to work for a construction company whose services were sought to repair the leaking roof as Gamsen, we later understood, failed to fix the problem even after several alerts by the officials of the bank. The first day my team went to the site to work, Amadou got informed and he came in insulting everyone at the scene including the bank officials for asking someone else to do the job without his consent and before he officially handed over the building. My team had to pack and immediately leave the scene as the situation was getting nearly ugly in full public glare. In the Gambia, these are the “decent” people who get congratulated with a pat on the back. What message is being sent to the younger generation of Gambians?
We all know Mr. Samba is in the water business. For those who do not know, he owns Gamwater Company employing Indians and some Gambians. Before and after him, some other entrepreneurs emerged in the same water business. Amadou did not stopat using his influence to scuttle these competitors but of moresignificance, he skilfully employed a combination of threat and dishonesty to cow these competitors and limit their market share. You dare not market your water in places identified as a Gamwater territory. There were other investors that had, in the past, chosen Gambia as a destination thanks to the efforts of GIPFZA in attracting foreign investment. In a few cases, some of the investors strayed into the wrong hands of Mr. Samba and in no time realized that Mr. Samba’s message was very clear: any threat to his business interests cannot be tolerated and therefore the ultimate option was to change course and find other suitable options. What was the opportunity cost for Gambia and Gambians?
Even bankers have not been spared Mr. Samba’s arrogance. Talk to Mr. Samba’s relationship managers in the various banks to understand who that seemingly smooth operator in dark glasses really is. He is also involved in the Foreign Exchange business and employs people to run the business for him which puts him in direct competition with banks for foreign exchange. In the past, the Dalasi has shillyshallied in relation to other currencies and the government blamed the operators in the foreign exchange market for the swings in the value of the Dalasi. In the end, a number of foreign exchange bureaus were closed. They were accused of speculating on the Dalasi leading to the erosion of its value. What the government did not know or maybe chose to give a blind eye to is the deep involvement of Mr. Samba and his foreign exchange outfit in the business of speculation. But the bureau still exists. The above incidents are just the tip of the iceberg.
I have intentionally left out Mr. Samba’s relationship with President Jammeh because I have very little or no knowledge about that and cannot speculate on things beyond my knowledge. However, given the recent Press Release aired on GRTS about the incident involving Mr. Samba in Dakar, and the position taken by The Gambia Government in this case of a private citizen, I am left pondering whether it is not a typical Animal Farm scenario of some animals being more equal than others. How many private citizens have been assaulted or killed outside of Gambia and, in some cases, their cadavers flown home for burial without any Press Release or acknowledgement by the government? Why has this latest one attracted such a reaction? Most of us in The Gambia only became aware of the incident through the GRTS news broadcast and the question my type have been asking since then is: what is the nexus between this supposedly private citizen and the establishment warranting such a release and stance? What interest does the government have in this case to the extent of wanting to risk their relationship with Senegal, which surrounds Gambia on the three sides?
Mr. Samba is said to be a lawyer by training. Therefore he is familiar with our common Legal parlance on the Clean Hands doctrine that “He who comes into equity must come with clean hands”. So how clean are the hands of Mr. Samba? Warning: If the victims of Mr. Samba were to come out one by one to narrate their side of their encounter with this man, people will not only be amazed but “dekabi defaa toj”.
What can someone said after reading these noble words? Mr. I salute you, may God keep your ink wet so continue you writing sense and the truth. I heard exactly the same thing from very reliable sources. The man has got no sincerity for the poor people. If he is called kind hearted man then I want to live to see what a wicked is.
“if victims of mr samba were to come out one by one”
Thank you Dr Mannet for telling everybody who is Amadou Samba and his abuse of power in The Gambia. The man used the system to make money without doing a good job. Mr Sankareh was either paid or out of ignorance of Amadou Samba.
To confirm to Mannet’s points, as a fire officer I vividly remember that fateful day in August 1997 when that building collapsed. I am still waiting for day that case of negligence and failure to follow safety standards resulting in dealths would be brought up in court against Amadou n his company Gamsen.
To add, was
1. Was it not d same Amadou who built the Arch 22? Same negligence. How many workers died when the Crane collapsed?? Who went to court for negligence? Who was compensated??
2. The traffic was supposed to go through the arch. Why is it not the case then??
Y the constant traffic diversions on marena parade and box bar, primate and other streets causing untold unnecessary expenses on
Time, cost of additional fuel, heavy use of those streets causing tear n wear, etc.
What was Amadou’s role in the banishment of Taf, Jimpex etc.
Wat was his role in d delay of the establishment of Gambia’s mobile GSM services Gamcel in 2001? Wat shares he hold in Africell which was 1 of the preconditions b4 Gamcel was established??
Wat role does he play the the 2008 unilateral sale of Gamtel / Gamcel without National Assembly approval and following any established procedures.
How much does Gambia loss since that day n continue to loss??
If Amadou was just a private citizen as claimed in the press release, why the urgent high level State investment in it??? If he had no hands in the state of affairs n state sponsored atrocities??
Momodou Tangara Gambia’s Permanent Rep to UN was beaten in New York by Falai, Bax n others while Yahya was attending the UN GA in Sept 2013, what was the government reaction?? Did they send delegates to the Obama gov about the incident??
Did they take the matter to a court in Bjl to try those involved??
Did they issue arrest warrants??
These are real joke n it makes me rethink as to how WE view ourselves as Gambians.
If anything, this matter only goes to show how vulnerable each citizen is when all the systems, institutions n instruments of governance break n completely fails.
May God save our land n it’s ple.
More over Mr Samba will buy your goods on credit and will never pay you.
He will insult you tell his security to throw you out of his office if you go to collect your money.
God is waiting for him.
Thank you Dr Mannet for sharing what you know about Mr Amadou Samba with this audience…It is individuals like you, with these type of first hand information/evidence, that could facilitate the delivery of justice when the time comes…
I have stated before, that in this digital age of portable gadgets, all those who participate to promote and maintain Jammeh’s misrule of The Gambia, from the security forces, the civil service, the business community right down to the foot soldiers at the community level (Chiefs, Alkalolu, Youths and Imams/religious scholars), must be monitored and their actions (where possible without putting oneself to danger), must be recorded for future reference. …
This is important because even when.we choose to have a “Truth and Reconciliation” Commission post Jammeh, the healing process will not be effective without candid honesty and openness about what individuals have done, the level of their participation during the Jammeh misrule and how these have impacted the nation, as a whole.. ..
However, despite our perception of Mr Samba’s role in the madness that has gripped The Gambia under Jammeh, the thuggish actions of Mr Bayo’s guards against Mr Samba cannot be justified and should be condemned by all decent people, because it is lawless impunity…Either impunity is wrong, no matter who the victim is, or it is not wrong..There’s no two ways about it..
I agree with Dr Mannet that the state’s show of interest in this one, whilst no such interest has been shown.in the plight of many others, does raise questions and suspicions of some form of relationship between Mr Samba and some influential and “powerful” individual/individuals within the regime. .But that this may be so should not be a surprise because that’s a hall mark of Yaya Jammeh’s style since 1994..
(By the way, I am not in any way implying that Dr Mannet thinks Amadou’ treatment was alright. .)
My In-Law, sometimes I worry about your thought process! Are you in Alaska? The cold does tend to freeze the brain cells at this time of the year. Anyway, it is good to see you have not gone into complete hibernation with the polar bears.
Clarification. .! Clarification. ..! Clarification!
Bax DID NOT beat Momodou Tangara in New York…Bax has “No hands” capable of beating anyone anymore..Bax is.much wiser than that now..But good contribution Gambia..
Thanks Dr Mamet. Quiet revealing. Please keep them coming.
Oohho! Dr Mannet, I see that you tried very hard to paint a real picture of Amadou Samba but for those of us who know much more, you have only divulge 0.001% of Amadou Samba’s greed and arrogance and daily bullyings. Even those of us who know much more cannot claim to know more 1% of this money worshipper. One thing I can tell Gambians is that Amadou Samba and Muhamed Bazzi control over 50% of the gambian economy on behalf of Yaya Jammeh. From Petroleum products, to hotels, to banks, to telecommunications to light industries, to properties development, to major infrastructure projects, Amadou Samba’s hands are seen giving directives to gorvernment officials, its different company managements, signing documents and presiding over board of directors. Amadou Samba’s handling of Jammeh’s businesses is second to none.
If Jammeh is the president of the law, Amadou Samba is the deputy president of the economy.
All I can say is, if Jammeh happens to die through the process of taking our country back, Amadou Samba will and can answer all questions related to his economic crimes. The only company Amadou and Bazzi cannot answer to, is the KGI group of companies.
I know a person whom Amadou Samba owe as little as D5000 – which he refused to pay and this man left him with GOD, and there are many more people in similar situations. Amadou himself must have forgotten these ordinary men but if what the Koran says is anything to go by, Amadou will have a lot to answer in the hereafter.
In the Gambia Amadou’s friends will call me and Dr Mannet, jealous persons but you know what I am happier than Amadou Samba cause I will have NOTHING to answer tomorrow GOD Willing.
Blaise Compaore’s friends lost sleep….since the 31st of October 2014.
bayo beat samba. king samba is finished.
You won’t believe this but I love the cold, especially the early morning breeze from the reservoir…Right now, as I type this comment, I’m tuned into BBC 5 live and got my window open..
Anyway, what is worrying you.? …Don’t you agree that we need openness post Jammeh or do you think Mr Samba’s treatment was right and deserved..?
Btw, I listened to parts of your interview with Mr Sillah on Kairo Radio, which may have been a repeat…
Good interview, but I could see that your views on the 1981 aborted coup is probably shaped by listening to “Professor” Jammeh’s narrative. ..
His narrative, unfortunately, does not reflect the truth behind the mass deaths in 1981, because it is just propaganda, probably to mask his own atrocities since 1994..
Bax, I am sorry if you don’t like my take on your 1981 “Revolution”, but the leader whose name I now forget (ha!ha!ha!) would have been another Sgt Doe and would have completely destroyed The Gambia. From that perspective, my “Professor” was a much better alternative – as Halifa Sallah who lives peacefully in The Gambia can confirm. As for Amadou Samba, the only person who has a worthwhile comment to add to what has already been said is Dr Amadou Scattred-Janneh (The Hunted) but I hear he is enjoying THANKSGIVING with family and friends in Georgia.
“My Revolution…!” That was anything but a revolution… and that’s why I think chasing (late) Kukoi out, was probably the best thing Sir Dawda ever did for The Gambia..Samuel Doe would probably have been a “saint” if Kukoi and his bunch of riff raffs have succeeded…It was out desperation that sections of the diaspora welcome him as a hero but he was no such thing..
What I meant was that when you mentioned how African leaders commit killings against their own people,you mentioned 1981 as an example of how Jawara was responsible for killing many people…A charge that the “professor” has repeatedly made… and even after falling out with the late Kukoi, Jammeh has never openly held him responsible for the mass deaths and destruction in 1981…
Sir Dawda was not anything like many African leaders of his generation…The man had his faults but murder and theft was not one of them…
BAX: “…you mentioned 1981 as an example of how Jawara was responsible for killing many people..”
Bax, I cannot see myself having blamed Jawara for the slaughter in 1981 – I haven’t listened to the interview but I think all I could have said is that “there was bloodshed in 1981” and blamed it on Mr. Samba.
I agree, “Jawara was not like many African leaders of his generation” … but that is because he IS a Gambian and Gambians are peaceful. But I think the growing population, hunger and the current political climate may change this peacefulness.