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GAMBIA: HOW ADEQUATE IS GAMBIA’S PREPAREDNESS FOR THE 15TH OIC SUMMIT THIS YEAR? – THE SPIDERWEB

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VVIP Lounge at Banjul International Airport

Dear Editor, kindly grant me a tiny bit of space by publishing this letter for your readership. I would like all Gambians, those at home and in the diaspora to know that the OIC projects are far from being completed. To call a spade a spade THERE IS LITTLE OR NO FUNDS left at this time I am writing this letter. Based on my own personal survey and evaluation since the day in which President Barrow announced to the nation that Gambia will host the OIC Summit this year in December, I was very skeptical because I had been reliably informed by one official working at the Gambia OIC Secretariat that such statement from the President was very unfortunate and misleading. We all know, continued this said official, that the projects will NOT be fully completed in time.

I would like to draw to the attention of all Gambians, that it has been less than two months ago since the Organization & technical Assessment team known as OTA were on a special fact finding mission in the Gambia to assess the country’s preparedness to host the upcoming 15th OIC Summit. I can tell you that the OTA team left Banjul very disappointed. During this said visit, the Assistant Secretary of Political Affairs Ambassador Yousef Al Doubeay with a delegation of professional experts met with stakeholders in the Gambia to make their own assessment of the projects. The delegation visited only two places while in the Gambia. First they visited Coastal Road Highway and then the VVIP Lounge at the Banjul International Airport. Finally, they met President Barrow before leaving for Jeddah, no other places were visited due to lack of work progress, as most of these projects were either not completed or have not yet started with the exception of the VVIP lounge at the Airport.

Ambassador Yousef Al Doubeay’s visit was not a normal procedure as oppose to what CEO Yankuba Darboe told reporters on the day of the ambassador’s visit, stating that this type of visit was just part of OIC routine. But the reason for this special visit was because the Saudis were not convinced of the reports of these projects coming from the OIC-Gambian stakeholders and their builders and contractors. These reports indicated lack of work progress either due to poor management of the projects or embezzlement of OIC funds. Initially, Saudi Arabia approved 93 million Dollar loan for the Gambia. Out of this huge sum, 10 million Dollar was to be invested in the construction of a VVIP Lounge at the Banjul International airport, 50 million Dollar was allocated for the constructions of roads within the Greater Banjul Area, 22.5 million Dollar was supposed to be invested for improving water and sanitations and 10.5 million Dollar for the improvement of electricity supply in the Greater Banjul Area. So far only the VVIP Lounge is completed in the words of the Gambia Civil Aviation Project manager Kabiro Jammeh, and not in the words of Yankuba Daboe why?

Now, where is the 400 bed hotel that was supposed to be built near the Conference Centre? With 83 million Dollar left yet still the projects are not yet completed? When will OIC Summit be ever hosted in Gambia? If the funds were invested wisely, the projects would have been completed long ago. At this very moment, the Brufut Road Projects from Ghana Town via Mariama Kunda to the Coastal Roads have all ceased. Why have they ceased? Three construction companies were contracted for these projects. According to Bala Ceesay the Contract manager of the National Road Authority who stated that due tender process was conducted for the successful bidder. The 50 kilometre road contract was however awarded to a Sierra Leonean man by the name Alimu Sanu Barrie, the CEO of Pavi Fort Road Construction Company on the 27th of October 2021 at a ceremony moderated by Bai Lamin Jobe the Minister of Works and Constructions at the time. Again the questions which remain to be answered is, who is Alimu Sanu Barriie and what is his ties to the seat of presidency in Sierra Leone? Was due process followed in the bidding process which awarded Mr. Alima Sanu Barrie the 50 kilometres OIC contract? What is the relationship and connection between President Adama barrow, President Bio and Alimu Sanu Barrie? Why was suck a contract not given to a Gambian?

According to my sources in Sierra Leone, it was widely rumoured that Alimu Sanu Barrie clandestinely arm twisted certain workers at the Bank of Sierra Leone to pay into Pavi Fort’s account the colossal sum of 9.7 billion Leones without the knowledge and consent of the Bank Governor, Dr. Patrick Conteh. Besides, it is mooted on the social media that the account of Pavi Fort is currently under freeze.

It is alleged that three former workers of the Bank, Mr Jibao Flee, Director, Banking Department, Mr. Ivan Gbondo, Assistant Director, Financial Markets Department and Mrs. Florella Hastings-Spain, Assistant Director, Banking Department were accused of making unauthorized payments to Government contractors, one of which is Pavi Fort and never included the alleged payment in the Summary with the Bank Governor never knowing about such a transaction.

“As a matter of fact the sum of 6.7 billion Leones was transferred into our account by instalments over a period of time and at no one point in time did we coerce officials of the Bank of Sierra Leone to effect payment,” Alimu lamentably disclosed, adding that the truth of the issue is that currently Government owes Pavi Fort the sum of 60 billion Leones. Whether this is true or not, Alimu failed to back his claims with evidence.

On a final note, it is time to hold our leaders to account. If these are the types of men awarded multimillion Dollar contracts in the Gambia then no wonder why the OIC projects are still incomplete. With most of these projects still not completed, the question that must linger in our minds each and every day until these projects are fully completed is, is Gambia prepared or ill-prepared to host the 15th OIC summit this year? and it requires honesty to answer this question.

Thank you for publishing my story

Rest in peace Pa Nderry

Article written by: The spiderweb

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The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Freedom Newspaper, its members or its editor.

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