By Sarjo Brito
Gambia’s Tourism and Culture Minister is expected to appear before the National Assembly (lawmaking body of The Gambia) today 24 January 2022, over corruption allegations at the Gambia Tourism Board.
The Tourism Minister and former Gambia Tourist Board Director Abdoulie Hydara will face the National Assembly Public Petition Committee as part of the committee’s investigation into the alleged accusations. The investigation was triggered after a group of concerned staff wrote to the National Assembly select committee on tourism in 2018, asking that they launch an investigation into alleged corrupt practices involving the Minister and other top officials in the tourism industry.
In a letter addressed to the said committee, the employees challenged the Gambia Tourism Board for awarding the Eco-Lodges contract to the highest bidder (Lerr Group), sidelining the other companies who offered to run the project at a more affordable cost.
“In 2018 bids were invited for the construction of the eco-tourism camps and five companies namely Mendura Construction, BB Electricals and Construction, Peace Enterprise, Lamin Jatta Eco Construction, Santa Yalla Construction and Lerr Group.
“Mendura Construction presented a bid amount of D12,121,746,50, BB Electrical and Construction presented a bid price of D14, 628, 032, 80, Peace Enterprise presented a bid amount of D13, 188,075, Lamin Jatta Eco Construction presented a bidding price of D13, 839, 309 Santa Yala Construction presented a bid price of D16, 514, 888 and Lerr Group presented a bid price of D26, 199, 667, 84,”
In their petition, the aggrieved group of employees also mentioned the wrongful allocation of land in the tourism development area, accusing the Minister and his cohorts of orchestrating the 5% waiver for businesses.
The accusations were met with strong reactions from some Gambians who called for the suspension of the Minister at the time.