PANORAMA with ‘Bulfaaleh’-Gambia Ports Authority explodes with excessive corruption-Bills of Lading and a lot more! Our maritime industry has been reduced to a pawn sales spot. These past weeks I have been engaged on serious investigations to further justify deeper scams and shady deals in Banjul. Authorities at the GPA are just so cheap to say the least. Under their watch a lot of money is being siphoned into the private accounts of selfish maritime clerks. These clerks are agents of big fish in Banjul and abroad. Thats not right. Charging local Gambian businesses and clearing agents money for bills of lading… It is only in The Gambia that businesses are charged to pay high prices for bills of lading. This sounds strange and confusing but its true. Its happening. These charges include bogus book keeping on value added taxes for “ghost” shipments. The agents claim to have strong backing from big fish in The Government. It is of course unsavoury and callous for these people to do these kind of things in a country where the economy is sinking day by day. This has shaken many maritime agents who had in the past established offices in Banjul. In fact what amazes people is that bills of lading are supposed to be like receipts or invoices per se. They are simply used as documents justifying shipment,receiving and handling. Why charge a buyer for a receipt being issued? Corruption is so endemic in The Gambia where the government itself forces its way through every deal. How on earth can we ever escape these shady deals if President Jammeh himself has his hand in every business back home? Names like MAERSK line and Maritime Gambia Ltd have featured in these deals. More will be revealed on this serious scandal. Infact some of the workers at the GPA who are helplessly against these deals are thinking of resigning or quitting to join other departments in days to come. They may do so or simply fear to act because the GPA is one of President Jammeh’s sources of income. There is a slogan being whispered at GPA or other places like NAWEC. This is,”join them,don’t fight them”. These desperate people say they had in the past reported the same scams to SOS Edward Singhatey but he simply did nothing about it. There are some who say that Edward is helpless as well. GPA allows selected shippers,cargo liners etc to use Gambian Cranes free of charge. This is like “putting the horse before the cart”. Here we have a Ports Authority that charges Gambian businesses D5000.00 for a “useless” bill of lading and then allow foreign maritime agents to use our cranes free of charge! These Gambians are facing appartheid in their own country under an elected government? The services offered by these cranes and the engineers running them are not supposed to be free of charge. Even if they are meant to attract investment? Then why would our own tax payers not be encouraged to compete these so-called foreign shippers? Will they ever do that for our businesses abroad? Not at all. These cranes use gas,the people running them use energy while expecting to be renumerated their hourly wages and our own country’s taxation loses so much in this mess. Why is the government silent? Why has President Jammeh not sent his electric broom there and see who fits to be electrocuted without delay? These questions cannot be answered because Jammeh himself has shares in some of these agencies. These are hard facts. Insiders said that Mr Gumbo Touray was fired. He is one of the seasoned maritime officers we have here in Banjul. Was he fired because of these deals or was he fired because he stood against these deals? There are so many versions in the GPA about that. Sources have also revealed that there are APRC agents working at the GPA. More details are on the way about these revelations from the Gambia Ports Authority. Our port is one of the most dangerous spots in the world. It can receive any dangerous material or goods meant to harm other parts of the world in exchange of few dollars. The International shipping agencies have to be so careful of passing their cargos through Banjul. We love our country to be seen as a good gateway but not when we have a senseless President pulling every string to make money by any means necessary. That will have serious side effects towards our Sea and airport in time to come. Particularly during this era of war against terrorism. Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2007 (Archive on Saturday, March 31, 2007) Posted by PNMBAI Contributed by PNMBAI Return Copyright 2006 (c) Freedom Newspaper, LLC. : Powered By PointClick : Terms Of Use : Privacy Statement

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