The Gambia government under the leadership of dictator Yahya Jammeh has filed court review papers before the International Center for Settlement of Investment disputes in the United Kingdom, challenging legal damages amounting in the sum of AUD $31 million, which is about $23 million United States dollars and was awarded to the Australian mining company Carnegie minerals, a subsidiary of Astron Corporation Limited, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The aforementioned damages represent the loss incurred by Carnegie, following the revocation of its mining license and impounded assets by the Jammeh regime.

charles+northfield-sThe Investment settlement dispute tribunal ordered The Gambia government some time ago, to settle the damages outlined above in favor of Astron. Astron Corporation is the parent company of Carnegie minerals.

The tribunal was presided over by Jean Kalicki, Philippe Pinsolle, and Donald Donovan. Mr. Donovan, who happens to be the President of the Investment Dispute Tribunal, in his ruling ordered The Gambia government to pay AUD $31 million to Carnegie, a subsidiary of Astron Corporation Limited. The judgment delivered in favor of Carnegie, included punitive damages, court costs, and interest.

The tribunal’s decision frowned at Gambia’s abrupt termination of Carnegie’s mining license. The Gambia government, the tribunal heard, did not stop at impounding Carnegie’s mining assets, but it also arrested the company’s Manager Charlie Northfield. Mr. Northfield, who later jumped court bail after been aided by a UK based private security company, was accused of illegally mining titanium, iorn ore, and uranium.  A charge Northfield and Carnegie vehemently denied. The company maintains that it operated within the terms and conditions of the mining contract it signed with The Gambia government. The tribunal heard that Carnegie was granted the right to mine zircon, ilmenite and rutile in Sanyang and Kartong respectively.

JAMMEHCarnegie initiated the legal complaint against The Gambia in 2009. The company won the lawsuit. But it is yet to enjoy the fruits of her judgment.

In a statement issued on December 2nd 2015, Astron Corporation Limited said: “Astron has now been notified that The Gambia has submitted an application for annulment to ICSID, on the grounds of the constitution of the arbitral tribunal, and arguments about admissibility and jurisdiction. An application for annulment is the only form of action open to The Gambia under the ICSID rules, as there is no form of appeal process.”

“In due course ICSID will appoint a panel of 3 arbitrators to form a committee to determine whether the Award should be annulled in whole or in part. Astron has not yet been provided the properly particularised grounds for the application from The Gambia, however Astron anticipates that this application will be strenuously opposed,” the Company stated.

The Gambia government has been engulfed in numerous international lawsuits over the years, especially matters relating to investment disputes. The regime often reach out for settlement, in an attempt to avoid punitive legal damages. But in the case of Carnegie minerals, the Jammeh government is contesting the decision of the Tribunal Court. The government’s grounds of contesting the Tribunal’s decision, largely premised on the issue of jurisdiction. The regime in Banjul contends that the UK based Tribunal Court lacks the legal jurisdiction to adjudicate the legal complaint that was filed against The Gambia government by Carnegie Minerals. The court is going to review Gambia’s counterclaim.  

Written By A Freedom Newsaper Staff Writer

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