By Omar Bah
The Gambia Ports Authority was forced to explain why it has ordered for a bank transfer of over D700, 000 to a contractor for the construction of a police station at President Barrow’s home village of Mankamang Kunda.
The Ports management’s reaction came after a letter conveying the instruction to Trust Bank was leaked and shared around the world.
Many Gambians greeted the letter with anger arguing that it reminded them of the style used by former president Jammeh to mismanage funds from parastatals.
However in a press release signed by the GPA managing director, Ousman M Jobarteh, the GPA Management said: “The IGP had sent a request to the GPA for the financing of the construction of 3 police stations in URR, namely, Bakadaji, Mankamang Kunda and Fatoto, which the Authority had considered under its CSR along the lines of similar interventions in the health, education, agriculture, sports and other sectors”.
“The design, tender and supervision was contracted to GAMWORKS under a Delegated Management Contract (DMC) and the construction works were awarded to the 3 most responsive local firms that submitted bids,” the release added.
The letter further reads: “Notwithstanding, the appropriate governance procedures were followed at the level of the Ministry of Finance and the GPA Board of Directors and decision was obtained for the relevant payments to be offset against the liability that the GPA owes to Government, which is normally settled in bi-annual installments”.
According to the GPA, the request for the financing of the projects did not state that it is a directive from the Presidency.
“It is hoped that the above will serve to shed light on the handling of the URR police stations project”.
Meanwhile, political commentator and human rights activist, Madi Jobarteh has since condemned the move and called on the IGP to order the Fraud Squad to investigate and prosecute the GPA MD and all those that are part of what he called unlawful and corrupt decision.
“I call on the National Assembly Public Enterprises Committee to summon the MD of GPA and the Minister of Finance to a public hearing to determine the source, reason and objective behind this gross misconduct and act of corruption,” Jobarteh added.