This week’s hot debate about the merits and demerits of any move to dissolve the Gambia Football Federation may have seemingly died down with the headline in The Point Newspaper yesterday quoting the minister of sports as saying he has no intention to dissolve the GFF.
However in the same interview the Minister did not seem to let the issue go away. He categorically stated his doubts about the official account of the money spent on the renovation. The Point quoted him as saying: “The GFF claims that they had invested US$500,000, which is D20 million and also claimed that furniture cost was US$325, 000” he noted, saying all he was saying was the truth, as he also took some photos of the site.
The Youth and Sports Minister called for the FIFA Goal Project to be investigated but also for the GFF to tell Gambian youth when they are going to deliver the Goal Project to them.
“All I need is action and results,” he stated, saying he is not out to hunt or witch hunt anyone.
“FIFA does not want politics or interference in football but if there is no government there will be no Gambia Football Federation and as long as government is contributing to football then government have the right to have a say in it,” he highlighted, adding: “Government allocates subvention to GFF.”If GFF wants to be a private body then let them stop government contributing to them,” he remarked, saying as long as the Gambia government is investing in GFF the government has the right to partake in its affairs.
He added that he had no grudge against whosoever is in GFF and is ready to work with everyone but let the cards be put on the table,”.
Reading from the above quotes it is obvious that the Minster wants the project investigated. Also when he said that government has a say in the affairs of sports bodies where it puts its money, the new minster is drifting into familiar arguments between the NSC and national associations as whether they are only answerable to their international federations or the National regulatory body, the NSC.
But to be more specific the Minister of sports almost certainly is reading from a script very similar to, if not the very letter, from some stakeholders of the GFF; a copy of which The Standard has, but withheld because of the serious nature of the allegations. However we have decided to share with our readers item Number 1 in the ten-point demands they made calling on the NSC chairman to investigate the affairs of the GFF which seems to be the item Sports Minister Gomez was talking about in the Point:
1). The Renovation of National Technical Centre (NTC)
Mr. Chairman I sincerely hope that questions would arise from what you are about to read, these are mouthwatering allegations; which an investigation will be highly justifiable and welcoming. It is alleged that:-
(i) The claim made that US $ 500,000 (five hundred thousand United States dollars) or equivalent over 20 million dalasi conservative estimates as the cost of renovation, needs verification and clarification from the GFF President Mr Kaba Bajo and his Executive.
(ii) The notable changes which attract such an exorbitant disbursement were as follows:-
(a) Roof repairs
(b) Ceiling repairs
(f) Installation of cheap water heating system.
Can these changes attract an estimated sum of 20 million dalasi?
(iii) Astonishingly, all fixtures, furniture, fittings and equipment within the interior of the entire building were provided by FIFA. Mr. Chairman, humbly note that the 500,000 dollars was spent only on the items which are listed in (ii) above
(a – f).
(iv) Interestingly the previous Executive Committee had budgeted an amount of US $ 325,000.00 (three hundred and twenty-five thousand United States dollars) as the cost of the Renovation Project.
(v) It is interesting to note than an extra USD350, 000.00 was provided by FIFA for the purchase of Furniture, Fixture, Fittings and Equipment to increase the total project cost of the so called football hotel to almost USD850, 000.00.( 35 million Dalasis)
(v) It is alleged that the contract was issued without public tender and a consultant was hired by the President and Bakary K Jammeh without the due consultation with the rest of the Executive. There was no scrutiny in the process of hiring of the contractor of the project.
Mr. Chairman, I humbly urge you to seek the advice of a Quantity Surveyor as a professional guide during the process of your investigation.
Mr Minister, as much as the above allegation may raise one’s pulse especially if one is oppose to the GFF, but does it really amount to a tangible evidence that one can take to the bank, especially after as we understood you were fully furnished with all documents pertaining to the project by the GFF it self: But again If I understand it the stakeholders are merely asking your office or the National Sports Council to investigate the project. Mr Minister any move taken by a government must be a decision that is based on sound and upright judgment so as not to result into a backlash. But again if you know what you are doing, push the button am sure the GFF will not have any qualms about a fair investigation on the project.