The Gambian government is currently owing the Banjul base motor company—TK Motors, three hundred million dalasis (D300 million), Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The loan in question represents vehicles the government took from the company, since the advent of the Barrow led Coalition government.
Insiders at the Finance Ministry said The Gambian government is currently serving the loan it borrowed from TK Motors. Three hundred million dalasis have been spent on purchasing fancy Pajero trucks and cars from TK Motors, insiders said.
The procurement of the said vehicles from TK Motors was never tendered, sources said. It was done through single sourcing.
TK Motors had been doing business with The Gambian government over the years. The former Jammeh regime used to purchase vehicles from the company.
Sources familiar with the story said the loan in question was secured while the United Democratic Party (UDP) Ministers were in government. Amadou Sanneh had served as Finance Minister before he was replaced by Mamburay Njie, a former Jammeh government Finance Minister, who later became Foreign Minister under Jammeh’s rule.
Njie was said to have been brought into the Barrow government by his friend Musa Drammeh, the local government Minister. The duo are buddies.
Njie was among the former Jammeh officials, who appeared before the Janneh Commission. It is not clear if adverse findings have been established against him by the commission that was tasked to investigate financial crimes perpetrated during the dictator’s two decades long rule. President Adama Barrow has six months to make the Janneh Commission report public.
The Gambian government often incurred a lot of financial burden (expenses) due to over billing. Government procurement agencies have been accused in some instances of conniving with companies to inflate procurement prices.
The terms and conditions of the D300 million dalasis loan that the government had reached with TK Motors has not been disclosed.
It should be noted that this is an impoverished West African nation, whose people are living below the national poverty line. The average Gambian lives below one United States dollar per day.
The country is also faced with decaying infrastructure. The country’s health and education sectors are also on the decline.
It is now becoming traditional in any Gambian government establishment: that Ministers are allocated three vehicles; one for work; one to drive their kids to schools; and the other vehicle for home errand.
A source familiar with the government’s operations said such loans are usually secured with the hope that the “supplementary appropriation budget bill” that the Finance Ministry tables before parliament, would take care of the expenditure once approved by Parliament. He says the government cannot afford to default in paying TK Motors since there are means and ways of securing funding through the legislative branch.
Government Spokesman Ebrima G Sankareh was contacted for comment, but his phone kept ringing without anyone attending to it. It appears that Sankareh was indisposed for comment.