The embattled former Petroleum Minister Sira Walley Ndow Njie and her husband Basiru Njie, an official of the Central Bank of The Gambia, are charging their tenants in dollars and not in dalasi, the main legal tender, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. A local housing agent, who is familiar with the tenancy agreements usually issued by the couple to the tenants occupying their properties said, the Njie family makes fortune out of the properties they rented to their tenants.
According to sources, Sira Walley, and Basiru Njie’s property situated along the Senegambia Highway, not far from the Officers Mess in Kotu, has been leased to a particular tenant in sum of twenty thousand United States dollars ($20,000) per year. The couple asked their tenants to pay in dollars. The property in question is a storey building, our source said.
Sira Walley and her husband have also rented one of their properties in Kotu to another tenant name withheld. The property is situated near the Apple 3 Nursery School in Kotu. The property is a three bedroom apartment. The tenant is paying them five thousand dollars ($5,000) per year for the said property.
There are other rented properties owned by the couple within the Greater Banjul Area. The source of the said properties remain unclear.
The former Petroleum Minister, is also said to be building a multi-million dalasi house in Cape point. The property is still under construction. She owns similar properties along the Tourism Development Area.
Petroleum Ministry insiders have alleged that during Sira’s tenure at the Ministry, procurement over billing allegedly occurred at the Ministry. Vendors and Ministry insiders connived to inflate procurement invoices at the expense of the regime.
In another development, the Ministry of Health’s Global Fund Department has come under fire. Officials at the Global Fund have been accused of over billing the Jammeh government, when it comes to the procurement of stationery, medicines, medical projects, office repair, workshops, travel expenses; just to name a few.
“The Global Fund Department is one of the most corrupt institutions in Jammeh’s government. Millions of dalasi is going into the pockets of corrupt officials at the expense of the government. The fraud takes in different forms. Project awarding, procurement, workshop expenses, vendor contracts and so forth account for the greater chunk of the fraud. In some instances, officials will connive with vendors to over bill the government. The same officials will turn around and ask the vendors to give them their cut of the deal. At one instance, a particular official of the Global Fund received one million dalasi ( D1 Million) from one of the vendors after she overbilled the government. Global Fund officials also favored their relatives, friends and loved ones by awarding their relatives contracts. The Gambian government needs to look into this organized graft calculated to hurt the fragile economy,” said the insider.
“Some of the women in position of authority in Yahya Jammeh’s government are very brave. They are openly stealing from the government. They have built luxurious houses; buying furniture from China to furnish their multimillion homes; driving flashy cars; spending their vacations overseas at the expense of poor taxpayers. The corruption is just too much in this country. We all know that their salaries cannot afford them such lifestyles. Everyone is busy making money for himself and not the government,” the insider added.
At the Ministry of Education, similar corruption exists there. It has been gathered that Ministry officials are in the business of falsifying project and procurement expenses.
“This country will never recover from the corruption perpetrated by the greedy government officials. Yahya Jammeh is wondering how come the economy is not growing.. Well there are people in his government taking advantage of the situation. An Asset Evaluation Commission will shed light into the magnitude of the corruption tearing this country apart. A Commission should also be set up to investigate the practice of Procurement and Contract awarding in the respective Ministries. Gambians will be shocked by the outcome of the proposed Commissions,” said an insider at the Ministry of Higher Education.