By Lamin Njie

The Gambia Ports Authority has rejected claims its decision to fund the construction of a police station in Mankamang Kunda stemmed from directives issued by the Office of the President.

There has been huge backlash across the country in the past couple of days after it emerged GPA has asked Trust Bank to transfer over half a million dalasis to Bafaad Enterprise for the construction of a police station in Mankamang Kunda, President Adama Barrow’s hometown. Some Gambians have slammed the move as ‘a very deliberate and mean-spirited way of reminding Gambians of Jammeh’s wicked ways’. Former president Jammeh is said to have used public institutions like Gambia Ports Authority as ‘his personal bank to finance his ill-advised programs’.

But GPA on Saturday responded to the backlash saying the decision to sponsor the construction of a police station in Mankamang Kunda didn’t stemmed from directives issued by the Office of the President.

A statement signed by the authority’s managing director Ousman Jobarteh said: “The IGP had sent a request to the GPA for the financing of the construction of 3 police stations in URR, namely, Bakadaji, Mankamangkunda 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.

“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.

“The request for the financing of these projects did not ensue from directives issued by the Office of the President.”