Gambia: Pristine Lawyer Puts Gambia Gov’t On Notice; Says Pristine Will File For Punitive Damages Against The Barrow Gov’t At The International Center For Settlement Of Investment Disputes

“ We understand there have been attempts to resolve our client’s claim, but no resolution has been achieved. We make it clear that our client remains open to reasonable settlement terms. As you will be aware however, Article 14.2 of the Master agreement says as follows: All disputes arising out of or in connection with this agreement shall be finally settled under the laws of the International Chamber of Commerce. In the event that settlement is not reached, our client will have no choice but to request arbitration through the ICC pursuant to Article 4, Paragraph 1 of the ICC rules 2017. We expect a response to this letter within 14 days,” a letter issued by the lawyer for Pristine Gambia Limited and was addressed to Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubcarr Tambadou reads. The letter was also copied to the Interior Minister Ebrima Mballow.

Lawyer Edwin Coe’s letter to the Gambian government services as a notice to the authorities in Banjul before Pristine will commence litigation in earnest against the regime at the International Center For Settlement Of Investment Disputes.

“The Master Agreement was entered into by the Government of the Republic of The Gambia acting through the Department of State for Interior and NGOS affairs. The Second Agreement was entered into by the Government of the Republic of The Gambia acting through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare,” the letter stated.

The Master Agreement said lawyer Edwin Coe, had an initial term of five years, which was extended by the Second Agreement, to which we run below.

“The two agreements related to the provision of a national identity system, along with the provision of various other documents and related services. We are instructed that you have breached several of the terms contained in both agreements. Our clients claimed damages as a result of your breaches, as outlined below. In the event that settlement cannot be reached, our client will have no choice but to seek arbitration in accordance with the dispute resolution process prescribed by the Master Agreement through the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”),” Lawyer Coe contends.

The Gambia government in a recent statement said cabinet has decided to award the biometric ID Card and Passport project to Semlex. Semlex is a Belgian biometric company. The company is under investigation in Belgium.

The biometric contract was never subjected to international public tender. It was awarded to Semlex through single sourcing.

The Pristine Chief Executive Officer Abdou Draman Touray died some weeks ago. His company has instructed their lawyer to take up the matter with the Barrow government.

As evident on the Pristine Lawyer’s letter, his clients will resort to dragging the government to the ICC if consensus is not reached on the proposed settlement. It is not clear how much Pristine is claiming in terms of damages against the Gambia government.

By: Pa Nderry M’Bai

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