Former President Yahya Jammeh coerced the country’s port authority to finance all of the gaieties in his home village of Kanilai, costing tax payers millions yet to be fully determined.
The autocratic ruler also forced the public enterprise to build an entertainment arena in the village. The Gambia Ports Authority built pavilions and maintain the cost of sustaining the arena.
According to the former Managing Director of the Gambia Ports Authority, Modou Lamin Gibba said the parastatal organization had to pay for the water, plumbing and power supply to the Kanilai arena.
Gibba could not ascertain precisely how much was spent on the building and maintaining of the arena but says there should be paper traces available that could help sum up the cost to the state.
The sum is expected to be in the tens of millions spanning more than half a decade of utility services and regular maintenance. The spendings were directives, says Gibba, who was left with no option but to comply with the orders of the totalitarian ruler.
Jammeh had spent millions into developing Kanilai to becoming the de facto political capital of The Gambia. He often ran the country from his compound in the village and held festivities there.
The economy of the remote area boomed. Banks were present and a safari lodge built. Tourists visit every year for the Putampaf and Roots festivals, which highly internationally promoted.