By Lamin Cham
A senior government official has revealed to The Standard that a leaked document listing land allocations to government officials doing the rounds on social media is authentic, but it is a legal allocation conducted in observance of due process.
Our source also revealed that the land is not part of the area locally called Strasser recently allocated to the community of Brufut for a sports complex.
On Tuesday, a list emerged on social media indicating allocation of land to ministers and other people at the posh Brufut Heights attracting critical comments, some of them accusing the Barrow government of stealing the land and sharing it among themselves.
The Standard reached out to a senior government official familiar with state land allocation, who explained that the said land was forfeited to the state by a commission of enquiry headed by Basirou Mahoney in 2011. “It is not even located at the Brufut Heights but at Bijilo Annex,” our source said. He continued: “The Gambia government then decided to reassign it to its servants, agents and other Gambians including ministers. There is nothing wrong with government allocating lands to servants or people in need of it as long as it followed due process which has been done in this case. It is therefore not correct to say that the said land was stolen from people and distributed among government officials. The place has always been a state land,” our source said.
The Standard also managed to reach the minister of Lands Musa Drammeh who confirmed that the allocations at the Bijilo Annex are part of a routine and normal government allocation to government officials or any Gambian. He added that “none of the beneficiaries has ever been allocated government land anywhere,” he said.