Service Personnel Complain About Allocation of Land for Housing

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PC: GPF

Fire and Rescue Service personnel and affected police and army officers have complained about the failure to allocate land for housing in Pirang village in the Kombo East district of the West Coast Region (WCR).

Many affected people spoke to TAT and asked for anonymity due to service rules.

They said they had been deducted D750 from their monthly salary since August 2020 under an agreement.

The credit union and the accounts department of the Gambia Fire and Rescue Service were mentioned to be involved in the arrangement to allocate land to them within two years.

It was agreed that once members of the Scheme paid half the price of the land, valued at D35,000, they would be given a plot.

The aggrieved officers have expressed their disappointment that the officials approached for answers have not fixed a date for the allocation.

One Fire officer told TAT that he had paid D28,000 to the Accounts Department, with only D7000 remaining to complete the full payment, but the promised land has yet to be allocated. He added that his family is affected as they are renting.

Another victim, an army private, said he joined the Scheme to own land and is frustrated by the long waiting.

“I purposely joined the Scheme because of the need to have my compound, and to date, I have paid for 36 months amounting to D27, 000; but still, I haven’t seen any land.

“We were told once we pay half of the value of the land, we will be allocated, but to date, none of us is allocated.”

He added: “I don’t know what’s going on. Anytime we ask, we are told to wait till they do the differentiation. But it’s up to a year, and none of us who crossed the half payment of the D35,000 is allocated.

“I’m disappointed because I was thinking of building a small house for me and my family because we all know what it means to rent in someone’s yard.”

An army corporal said he has contributed D25,500 in 34 months, but to date, he has “not heard anything concrete and convincing.”

According to this man, more than 1000 officers in the various services are in the same situation.

“I can tell you that acquiring our land was our main driving force, making us part with D750 for three years. But each time we asked them, they will tell us to wait till they demarcate the land.

“We are frustrated with this back and forth, as each of us has more than half of the value of the land,” the army corporal told TAT.

Three other officers expressed similar sentiments and wanted to be given land or refunded their monies.

TAT spoke to one Masanneh Bah, a senior officer at the Accounts Department responsible for the Scheme, who confirmed that land was acquired at Pirang.

He said; currently, efforts are on course to clear and demarcate the land, but the enormous costs of the clearing exercise are delaying the process.

He could not give a specific time to complete the demarcation and allocation of the land to the waiting beneficiaries.

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