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UDP’s Tombong says Hamat missed point in land allocation to Barrow

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By Tabora Bojang

The opposition UDP administrative secretary for media and communications, Tombong Saidy, has said Lands Minister Hamat Bah missed the point in his response to concerns raised by Ousainu Darboe, who challenged President Barrow to clear the air as to whether he was allocated a land at South Atlantic which was formerly used as official residence of chief justices.

Darboe had said if that was the case then such allocation will be wrong since the land is not in a layout.

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Responding to Darboe’s challenge, Lands Minister Bah in a statement issued Wednesday confirmed that the said land was allocated to the president and it had not been occupied by any authority including the Chief Justice for many years.

The Minister added that his Ministry therefore exercised its statutory mandate to allocate it to President Barrow.

However, according to Tombong Saidy, the press release from the Ministry did not answer the question as to how the property, which is the official residence of the Chief Justice, was given to President Barrow for his personal use.

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“The Ministry explained in the press release that the land was unoccupied, so does this mean all unoccupied government properties would be allocated at will? The current official residence of the Vice President is unoccupied, I guess we should expect it to be allocated as well. This is ridiculous,” Saidy said. He said former President Jawara’s residence, which is a few meters away, was not a government allocation as some government officials want us to believe.

“That property belonged to the Catholic Diocese of the Gambia and he got it from them well before he became president. President Barrow, like any other Gambian, has the right to be allocated land, but the problem here is that this land is not a reserved land or a layout for allocation. This is a government property which is designated as the official residence of the Chief Justice,” Saidy said.

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