By Essa Bah
Fara Shamz, the proprietor of Construct Company Limited has been speaking before the National Assembly Standing Committee on public petitions. Shamz narrated in detail what he knew about The Gambia Tourism Board petition of malpractices in the award of contracts.
Mr. Shamz told the committee that the discussion on the contract started in 2011 when he saw a land that he believed was ideal for a big shopping center. However, the signing of the deal came in 2014, when he sketched a plan that the government felt was ideal, his demands to the government at the time was 30 years lease, so he can get back the money that he invested in the whole building.
He later told the government that the Senegambia road if extended would affect the building, so he came with another sketch plan where the big shopping center will have an underground parking and his demand to the government this time was to extend the lease to 35years. The government, according to Mr. Shamz, did not hesitate in signing the agreement.
Fara Shamz added that, just as they were near completion of the building, the GT board informed him that they also need offices in the same place. “I told them, well I can no longer build offices for free, and they said no we are going to pay for it”, he said. “So, we started building the exact offices they requested, just as the building was near completion that was the time the government has changed, then we have a new minister of Tourism, then we came to know that the GT Board and the Ministry of Tourism said that they don’t want to be part of shopping center after the offices were already built”.
Mr. Shamz explained that the new ministry came with a plan of a building they wanted which he
described as a huge one that was approximately sixty to seventy (60 – 70) million dalasis. The agreement signed between the Construct Company and Ministry of Tourism was to give the building company the offices they earlier built and go ahead and build the GT Board new offices with a fifty-year lease.
This petition at the National Assembly is ongoing, and the Progress newspaper will continue to follow and feed you with updates. The National Assembly standing Committee on Public Petition derives their powers from the1997 constitution of the Gambia, the committee has all the powers, rights, and privileges to examine the issue and make recommendations.