By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia’s Anti-Crime Unit (ACU) has moved from its headquarters in Bijilo to Police Training School next to Yundum Airport. However, representatives of the legal owners of the premises as declared by the High Court were denied entry to commence construction work on the premises today 30th September 2021. Our reporter managed to get access to the ACU premises which has been left in a terrible state. A phone call to the Spokesperson of the Gambia Police Force, Lamin Njie has confirmed to Gainako Online News that the ACU has moved to Police Training School.
Our reporter was present when a representative of the “Home of Medical Mission (Global GHOMM)” Ms Nenneh Freda Gomez, attempted to gain entry to the former ACU Headquarters in Bijilo. At first, a Police Officer at the gate attempted to deny her entry to the premises. After showing the Officer a High Court Judgement dated 29th June 2020 and signed by Justice F. Achibonga she was granted entry without her construction material. Ms Gomez had arrived with a delivery of some 100 bags of cement to the site. However, the delivery vehicle was denied entry, instead, the cement had to be stored at another location.
Upon entry to the former ACU Headquarters, it was clear to see the terrible state of the building which was mostly abandoned and taken over by goats and other domestic animals. Speaking to the Officer at the site our reporter was informed that officials from the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) had visited the place. According to the Officer, there are plans to build a hotel on the premises for the upcoming OIC Summit scheduled to be held in the Gambia in 2022. The Security Officer was adamant that OIC Officials had visited the premises earlier this week.
Our reporter managed to access High Court Ruling documents from the representative of Global HOMM which indicate that the premises belong to Global HOMM and that the Respondents which include the Minister of Lands & Regional Government, Director for Lands and Surveys and the Attorney General should pay D500,000 to Global HOMM.
A prior Court Ruling from the Kanifing Magistrates Court dated 12th September 2019 also ordered that the “plaintiff [Global HOMM] shall have possession of all that property situated at Bijilo” and for a “sum of D50,000” to be awarded to Global HOMM and “against the Defendants as general damages for trespass”. The ruling further adds that the “cost of this action is assessed at D25,000 in favour of the plaintiff”.
If all these fines are paid, they will come up to a total of D575,000 in fines to be paid by the defendants. Gainako will continue to follow this story to find out if the High Court ruling will be respected and the fines paid and if the OIC really intends to push through with its plans to build a hotel at the site which would breach an existing High Court Order.