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Saturday, June 22, 2024
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KAMALO PHASE II ALLOCATIONS CANCELLED

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By Omar Bah

Lands Minister Hamat Bah has yesterday announced a bombshell as an outcome of investigations by a taskforce instituted to investigate land allocation at Kamalo.

According to the minister, all allocations of plots of land to businesses at Kamalo Industrial Layout Phase 2 have been nullified, as recommended by presidential inquiry which revealed serious irregularities in the allocation processes.

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Addressing journalists at a news conference, Minister Bah said the taskforce discovered anomalies in the allocations including the minister’s approval without following due process.

“Individual businesses were allocated more than one plot while others were allocated without evidence of registration certificate or receipt showing they have paid the D50,000 application fee contrary to the dictates of the Act. There is no justification to why some of the businesses were allocated more than one plot, or why number of allocations were made without the minister’s approval and why ineligible applicants and missing documents of applicants. Also, there was no evidence of environmental impact assessment,” Hamat Bah said.

He said all these cast doubt on the criteria used to determine these allocations.

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Recommendation

Minister Bah said the taskforce has recommended that the Lands Ministry ensures that a strategic document and national land policy be developed, implemented and monitored.

“The document should clearly outline the country’s agenda pertaining to land and the roles and responsibilities of the authorities involved in land allocation,” he said.

The taskforce also recommended that the ministry should have a proper recording system and efforts should be made to  ensure that the missing Kamalo file is produced. “We are looking for the file,” he stated. The taskforce, he said, also recommended that a particular allocation to a certain business be revoked, adding that the particular business owner has already surrendered his documents to the taskforce.

Bah went on to disclose that the taskforce also recommended that the decision to make Kamalo an industrial area be reconsidered as it possesses serious environmental threats as most of the investors are projected to build heavy industries on the site.

“They also recommended for the NEA to perform a comprehensive assessment on the site to ascertain any existing or potential damage and this assessment will serve as crucial information to making informed decisions on a broad skill”.

He added: “So, because of these irregularities, it has recommended that the entire Kamalo allocation be revoked simply because all the 28 allocations didn’t follow due process and there was no evidence provided to them that environmental impact assessment was conducted either by the ministry or the allottees before allocation was done.”

According to Minister Bah all the allocations that are proven to have not followed due process would be forfeited to the state.

He added that his ministry accepted all the recommendations of the taskforce and therefore, it is conclusive that the entire plots will be nullified and we will ensure that all the recommendations are implemented.

Background

In September 2023, the ministry of lands announced the suspension of all land development activities at Kamalo Proper and Kamalo Extension Industrial Layouts situated along the Banjul-Serekunda Highway.

A multi-sectoral taskforce was immediately commissioned by the government to conduct a comprehensive review to examine the demarcation and allocation processes at the layout. The process was triggered by public outcry that the allocations didn’t follow due process.

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