The Gambia government has rubbished reports that it has not signed a memorandum of understanding with Romanov Empire represented by Arch Chancellor Prince Anton Bakov, who also claims to be Prime Minister, Serene Highness of Romanov Empire.
Antov Bakov, a Russian businessman, Monday announced at a news conference in the city of Yekaterinburg, that a Memorandum on Friendship and Cooperation between the Romanov Empire and the Republic of the Gambia has been signed in Banjul.
Mr Bakov said once a treaty is signed, the Empire will pay US$60 million to the government of the Gambia.
Then artificial islands, not exceeding 10 square kilometres, are planned to be built within the Gambia’s territorial waters to accommodate the revived Empire.
The islands are to include an economic zone as well as what is being labelled the first ‘smart city’ in Africa.
As part of the project, a capital city is to be built called Saint Nicholas in reference to Czar Nicholas II who was executed in Yekatrinburg in 1918 after the Bolshevik revolution.
The agreement provides for the Gambia and the Romanov Empire to establish diplomatic relations and for the Empire to have broad jurisdiction, including over immigration.
But the Gambia government has denied the report and described the documents Mr Bakov showed to the media as fake.
Amie Bojang-Sissoho, press secretary for the president, clarified that Mr Bakov visited the Office of the President in on 13th November 2017 and expressed interest to invest in tourism.
“During the meeting he presented a draft proposal was for the Gambia to provide him with 10 square kilometers of land for him to develop an artificial island to be called Bitcity for an annual payment of US$10 million for six years,” she explained.
Ms Bojang-Sissoho added that upon presentation of his investment proposal, the Office of the President referred the matter to the Ministry of Justice for legal advice in a letter dated 15th November 2017. She said the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary responded in a letter dated 28th November 2017 with a legal advice against the proposal.
The Solicitor General and Legal Secretary agued that, Roman Empire is not a real state and Bakov’s desire is to purchase or lease land for personal purpose. He also argued that Anton Bakov is seeking to re-create the Russian empire somewhere else in the world and Romanov doesn’t have authority to enter into an international treaty because it does not have a permanent population, a defined territory, government and has no capacity to enter into relations with another state.
The government was advised to reject the proposal, which has environmental and financial impact on the grounds that the project is not legitimate and providing 300 years lease will bind the next ten generations of Gambians in negotiation with a non-existent state.
Ms Bojang-Sissoho said the MOU Mr Bakov has shown to the media is fake. She argued that Dawda D. Fadera, Secretary General and head of the Gambian Civil Service had never signed the document on behalf of the Government of the Gambia
While assuring Gambians that while it wants genuine investments in the country, Ms Bojang-Sissoho said the Gambia government is aware of dubious individuals and companies who would want to exploit the New Gambia for scam projects.
She warned that this will not be accepted noting that the Barrow administration will always seek the best interest of the Gambia for any investment opportunity.