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Gam Petroleum saga: What we know and who is involved
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Gam Petroleum saga: What we know and who is involved

This week witnessed the biggest corruption revelation since President Adama Barrow took office in 2016. The public showdown involving some of the wealthiest individuals in the country attracted a lot of interest as it was entangled in the recent shortage of fuel in the country.

Although the scandal was on everyone’s lips in and out of the country, the silence in sections of the Gambian media is quite deafening. Most media outlets, particularly online media outlets and popular Gambian commentators that are quick to jump on any and everything, placed themselves on self-censorship and media blackouts.

Reports have it that the people entangled in the mess are generous patrons of most media owners and personalities gifting them cash, cars, fuel, among others,

However, here is what we know and the individuals involved:

What happened?

Early last week, reports emerged that personnel of The Gambia Police Force has arrested Saihou Drammeh, the Managing Director of Gampetroleum, Lamin Gassama, Director of Operations, Gampetroleum, and Kaddijatou Kebbeh, an employee of GACH Global. As of the time of writing this report, they are still under detention at the Police Headquarters in Banjul.

Gampetroleum is the national storage facility that stores up all petroleum products that come into the country.

The details are still murky, but a highly placed source indicates that the trio has been arrested in connection to 1.1 million dollars that allegedly got missing in mysterious ways. The money was said to be the cost of a fuel consignment that GACH purchased from Gampetroleum to deliver to GNPC – one of the clients he supplies fuel.

Jawara’s company GACH was reported to have reached a petroleum supply agreement with Gampetroleum that costs over 1 million euros. However, the MD of Gampetroleum, Saihou Drammeh allegedly requested to be paid cash instead of an electronic transfer. Due to the amount involved, Jawara refused and instructed his employee Kaddijah to transfer the money to Gampetroleum’s account.

However, a source alleged that Kaddijatou defied her boss and diverted the money into the account of one Muhamed Jagana to convert it into cash and pay Saihou Drammeh.

Sources close to the investigation reveal that it is her testimony that she gave the cash to MD Saihou Drammeh but he is denying receiving any money from her. Interestingly, there seems to be no evidence that Saihou took the money from her.

Who are the players and how are they connected?

Abubacarr Jawara

He is the founder and Chairman of GACH Global. Before 2016, not so much was known about him. He is widely believed to be an associate of President Barrow. He is a renowned wealthy businessman who has several portfolios in the country including a tomato factory. He entered the oil and gas business this year, winning mega government contracts to supply fuel to GNPC – the national petroleum corporation.

Kaddijatou Kebbeh

She is a Kairaba Avenue socialite who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She is the daughter of ex-business Muhammed Kebbeh and was educated in the UK. She had a budding career in showbiz. Later, Kaddijatou’s family would run into financial hardship leading her to take up employment with GACH Global as a Personal Assistant to the CEO.

Saihou Drammeh

Saihou Drammeh is deemed to be one of the richest young people in the country. He was part of the students former President Jammeh sent to Taiwan to study petroleum. He met fortune soon after becoming the MD of Gampetroleum.

Saihou Drammeh’s life is as interesting as it is oxymoronic. Not so much is known about him publicly. He has powerful backers in government but would they be able to help this time?

Lamin Gassama

It is not clear how he is linked to the ongoing scandal, but he is believed to be Saihou’s greatest collaborator. Although handling the position of Director of Operations of Gampetroluem, Lamin Gassama has no university education.

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