Works Ministry Says Funds Meant For Construction of OIC Road Projects Managed By Funder

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By Nelson Manneh

The Ministry of Works and Infrastructural Development said according to the Loan Agreement, all funds meant for the construction of the OIC’s 50km road projects are directly managed by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and not The Gambia Government.

The Ministry of Works on Thursday 28th March 2024, made the above statement in a press release, when responding to information published on a social media platform.
The press release reads as follows: “The attention of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure has been drawn to a trending social media story by Open Gambia Platform titled: “A CONSULTANT WITH THE SAUDI FUND FOR DEVELOPMENT (SFD), THE OIC ROAD PROJECT HAS BLOWN THE WHISTLE ON PRESIDENT BARROW’s ADMINISTRATION’s CORRUPTION!
According to the Ministry, they wish to inform the public that the story is totally false, gravely malicious and intentionally fabricated to misinform the public, and said for the purpose of putting the records straight, the public may wish to note that under the Loan Agreement, all funds meant for the construction of the OIC 50km road projects are directly managed by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and not by The Gambia Government. The release further said that together with its implementing Agency, the National Roads Authority (NRA), they are only responsible for the implementation and supervision of the actual contract works while the Ministry of Finance acts as liaison between the Saudi Fund and the contractors and consultants, to facilitate the payment of their Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) by the Fund.
That as such, payment certificates are procedurally raised by contractors against works done which is thoroughly examined by 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 release said it is evident that neither the Ministries of Works and Finance nor the NRA, handle and or manage the funds meant for the payment of the Contractors or Consultants. That rather it is the SFD under the Loan Agreement that directly pays Contractors and Consultants into their designated bank accounts. That therefore the statement by the Open Gambia Platform that the Gambia Government squandered the project funds, is erroneous and is a deliberate and concocted disinformation devoid of truth.

Regarding compensation for the affected property owners in areas where the project is being implemented, the release said 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 in their press release wishes to clarify that it is The Gambia Government that is entirely responsible for the payment of compensation to property owners and not the Saudi Fund.
That in this process too, no compensation funds are physically handled by either the Ministry of Works nor the NRA. That when properties are valued by the designated experts at the Ministry of Lands, reports are sent to the NRA to raise payment certificates of the valued properties for onward transmission to the Ministry of Finance for payment directly into the personal bank accounts of the affected property owners.
The release said throughout this process, no money meant for compensation exchanges hands nor does it move from the Ministry of Finance to any other government entity other than the affected property owners’ personal bank accounts.
The Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure in their release concluded that with the above clarification, Open Gambia Platform will be honest and professional enough not only to carry this as a rejoinder, but to equally distribute the above information to all platforms that published its erroneous and distasteful story.