Banjul, August 3 The Gambia Journal
The Gambia Journal has learnt that parts of both state telecommunication companies GAMTEL (Gambia Telecommunication Company) and GAMCEL (Gambia Cellular Telephone Company) have been recently sold to a Lebanese company. Shrouded in utmost secrecy, the deal was just revealed to the directors of the companies earlier this week by the Secretary of State for Information and Communication, Nenneh Macdoual Gaye. Though rumors of the planned sale of GAMTEL had been in circulation for sometime now, even the directors did not expect it to come any time soon. Reliable sources close to the companies told The Gambia Journal that Mrs. Macdoual-Gaye called up a meeting of the directors at her office earlier this week to inform them that fifty percent of the shares of both companies had been sold to a little-known Lebanese company called Spectrum Investment Group Ltd. The Gambia Journal failed to find the company’s name in any Lebanese business directories and “Ltd” postfix in its nomenclature suggest that the company may be for-the-purpose established company as other such companies that have recently taken over big chunks of the national utility company. NAWEC’s operations in mysterious deals. The deal when it comes to fruition will put almost the country’s entire telecommunication sector into Lebanese hands. Both other mobile telephony service providing companies, AFRICEL and COMMIUM, belong to Lebanese sole proprietor companies.
GAMTEL has been the best performing public enterprise in The Gambia for decades and the quality of its service delivery has been ranked second only to that of South Africa on the African continent. But persistent political interference and even alleged periodic raids on its coffers has plunged the company into bankruptcy of late. The sources that declined to be named, told The Gambia Journal that the company’s Board of Directors have been dissolved and all planned overseas training scheduled for the staff have been suspended. It was also revealed that even GAMTEL’s Managing Director, Mr. Katim Touray, who is currently on a visit in South Africa, was not aware of the changes at the time of the changes.