By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
President Adama Barrow is expected to lay the foundation stone for a US$100 Million Hotel to be built for the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) Summit scheduled to be held in The Gambia. According to the OIC Gambia CEO and the Branding and Communications Lead, the Gambia Government will only benefit from a 10% share of the proceeds of the Hotel.
The OIC Gambia’s Branding Lead, Mr Nfally Fadera delivered his presentation to the National Assembly’s Select Committee on Monitoring the Implementation of Government Projects on 27th June 2022. Mr Fadera’s presentation slides note that “the Gambia government has finalized the availability of [a] 17-hectare land located in Bijilo”. However, our investigations have revealed that the High Court has ruled that the property in question belongs to a Charity named Global HOMM.
During a press conference at the OIC’s International Conference Centre, the CEO of OIC Gambia Mr Yankuba Dibba was questioned by a Gainako Reporter about the ongoing legal dispute regarding the property in question. At the press conference held on the 20th of June 2022, CEO Dibba responded to say “there is no legal problem with that, its 100% Government ownership and the land is allocated to IMMOGAM as the Hotel and Government has title to the land. So, there is no issue as far as that is concerned for now”.
This article pieces together statements from the OIC Gambia press conference held on 20th June 2022 and the presentation slides delivered at the National Assembly on 27th June 2022.
At the press conference, CEO Mr Dibba was asked about the progress of construction works of the OIC Hotel by a journalist. In response, CEO Dibba explained that “the 5 Star Hotel is a key project of the OIC” and that “it is unique in that it’s the only project that is not Government to Government financed. Our 5-Star Hotel proposal is a Public Private Partnership that was signed last year and all the necessary legal documentation is complete”.
Speaking about the partnership CEO Dibba highlighted that the “partnership [is] between the Gambia Government and a concessionaire”. CEO Dibba added that “a concession agreement has been signed last year leading to the creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle called IMMOGAM, where the Gambia government holds 10% shares. The project includes the construction of 400 rooms and 60 luxury suites”. 50 of the 60 Luxury Suites will be Presidential Suites and 10 will be Royal Suites noted Mr Dibba.
Presentation Delivered to National Assembly Members
Delivering his presentation to National Assembly members in the presence of the Minister of Works and Construction and the OIC Gambia CEO, Mr Fadera’s slides revealed that “the Chairman and CEO of Immoland Sarl, Mr Abdoulie Thiam last year ending led a team of technicians including architects, civil engineers, and construction contractors from South Africa and Turkey to inspect the site and carry our preliminary design works ahead of construction”.
The slides noted that the contract duration is expected to last 2 years and Radisson Blue Family, an internationally branded franchise will be responsible for the operation of the Hotel. Also detailed in the presentation slides is that “the preliminary engineering and construction designs have been completed and are being reviewed by the relevant authorities. Geotechnical studies of the land are finalized, and results are being incorporated into the final designs”.
Progress on Design and Construction of the Hotel
Speaking about the progress of the construction of the Hotel, CEO Mr Dibba told journalists that “IMMOGAM Hotel and Resorts will be the name of the company but the Hotel will be operated by Radisson Blue because that’s all part of the agreement. That the hotel will be managed by a private company”.
However, this point is being contested by individuals who have contacted Radisson Blue via email and have been informed that Radisson Blue does “not have any project in [the] Gambia signed at this stage”. Gainako has seen the email in question, however, the OIC Gambia Secretariat released a statement today calling the allegations false.
Still, on the progress of the project, Mr Dibba says that “a lot has been done, in terms of the concept, in terms of the technical drawings. A South African Consortium of Companies has been contracted to do the design”.
CEO Dibba noted that “the final drawings of the Hotel will be submitted early next month (July). The foundation stone of the Hotel will be laid on the 16th of July by H.E. the President”. Later on, in his response to Journalists asking about the Hotel, CEO Dibba added that “I can now tell you that we have discussed and the President has given the 16th of July as the date that we will lay the Foundation Stone”. However, the laying of the Foundation Stone has changed to 23rd July 2022 after a press release was issued last week by the OIC.
On the construction of the Hotel CEO Dibba says “it’s been contracted to a Turkish Company and it’s a turnkey project. So, the designs are being done by the South Africans, the Landscaping is being done by a Ghanian Team and the Construction is going to be done by a Turkish Team”. He says that “our hope and plan is that the Construction will be accelerated because most of the things will be prefabricated, they just come and fix them here”.