Monday, April 22, 2024

MoTWI rebuts Open Gambia’s story on Barrow Administration’s alleged corruption

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By Mama A. Touray

The Ministry of Transport, Works, and Infrastructure has issued a press release denying allegations made in a social media post that a consultant involved with the OIC project has exposed corruption within the Barrow administration.

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The release stated that the Ministry’s attention had been drawn to a social media story titled “A consultant with the Saudi fund for development, the OIC road project has blown the whistle on President Barrow’s administration’s corruption”.

Reacting to this story, the ministry described the story as “totally false, gravely malicious and intentionally fabricated to disinform the public.”

The Trade Ministry said under the Loan Agreement, all the funds meant for the construction of the OIC 50km roads project are directly managed by the funder, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and not The Gambia Government.

It further stated that the ministry and NRA (its implementing agency) are only responsible for the implementation and supervision of the actual contract works. At the same time, the Ministry of Finance acts as the liaison between the Saudi Fund and the contractors and consultants and facilitates the payment of their Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) by the Fund.

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“As such, payment certificates are procedurally raised by contractors against works done which are thoroughly examined by the International Consultants of the project and re-examined and validated by the NRA before they are sent to the Ministry of Finance for onward transmission to the Saudi Fund for payment directly into the contractors’ bank accounts” the press statement reads.

The release further explained that neither the Ministries of Works and Finance nor the NRA handles or manages the funds meant for the payment of the Contractors or Consultants. Rather, the Saudi Fund, under the Loan Agreement, directly pays the Contractors and Consultants into their designated bank accounts.

Meanwhile, the ministry also confirmed compensation for the affected property owners where the project is being implemented, and the payments are ongoing.

“Contrary to the false claims by Open Gambia Platform that the Saudi Fund’s allocation for this activity has been squandered, the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure wishes to clarify that it is The Gambia Government that is entirely responsible for the payment of compensation of properties and not the Saudi Fund”.
The Ministry said no compensation is physically handled by either the Ministry of Works or the NRA, adding that when properties are valued and cost by the designated experts at the Ministry of Lands, the reports are sent to the NRA which raises payment certificates of the costed properties and forward them to the Ministry of Finance for payment directly into the personal bank accounts of the affected property owners.

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“The Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure hopes that with the above clarification, Open Gambia Platform will be honest and professional enough not only to carry this rejoinder but to equally distribute it to all platforms it published its erroneous and distasteful story on” the release ends.

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