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 Janneh Commission of inquiry on Y. Jammeh's assets

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Momodou Posted - 17 Aug 2017 : 10:38:57
Accountant General, bank managers appear before commission on Jammeh’s assets

By Dawda Faye


The Point: Wednesday, August 16, 2017

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/accountant-general-bank-managers-appear-before-commission-on-jammehs-assets


The Gambia’s Accountant General Momodou Lamin Bah has appeared before the commission of inquiry into the assets and financial transactions of former President Yahya Jammeh, to explain his links to tax recovery accounts with some commercial banks in the country.


Mr Bah, who served as accountant general in March 2014, was summoned in relation to tax recovery accounts at Trust Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank, according to lead counsel in the commission Amie Bensouda.

Testifying on 14 August 2017, Mr Bah said he was not aware of the said accounts, but revealed that “the accounts are in the commercial banks”.

He further posited that his office obtained information from Trust Bank but Guaranty Trust Bank was “not cooperative”, as GTBank “did not share any information” with his office.

Mr Bah, who also said he is a finance expert, told the commission that by law, no government account should be opened without the knowledge of the Accountant General.

Having worked as a consultant at the Ministry of Finance, as he adduced, Mr Bah further stated that government accounts should be domiciled at the Central Bank. No government account should be opened without the approval of the Ministry of Finance on the recommendation of the Accountant General, he added.

At this juncture, the lead counsel informed Mr Bah, who said he lives in Brusubi, that the commission would issue him with a subpoena to come back and continue his testimony.

In his testimony, GTBank’s Managing Director Bolaji Ayodele, who has before this day appeared and testified at the commission, said he had dalasi and dollar transfers of Alhamdulilai Petroleum Mineral Company Ltd he was asked to bring along.

The lead counsel then applied to tender the documents, which the commission accepted, and the said withdrawal documents were tendered and admitted.

Mr Ayodele stated that there were 43 withdrawals from the dalasi account from 2 November 2015 to 9 December 2016.

He said the foreign currency transfers were not in order, adding that the CFA transfers from dalasi was equivalent to D212,864,967.

He posited that $64,800, which was equivalent to D4,566,049.08, was transferred, adding that 19,863.25 Euros, which was equivalent to D1,067, 716.02, was also transferred.

He adduced further that foreign transfers out of the bank were as follows: on 19 July 2016, $8,230, on 29 July 2016, $60,000 from Alhamdulilai Petroleum Mineral Company Ltd to Gamcel, on 4 August 2016, $6,000 was withdrawn by Toni Ghattas, 10 August 2016, £33,000 was transferred; on 19 August 2016, $30,000 was also withdrawn, on 29 August 2016, $40,230 was withdrawn by Toni Ghattas, on 19 September 2016, there was a purchase of $20,000, on 11 March 2016, the equivalent to CFA transfer was D122,315,000 to Senegal, on 17 March 2016, CFA63,465,480 was also transferred to Senegal, on 4 March 2016, CFA 42,048,895 was transferred to Senegal, on 21 February 2017, $142,800 was converted.

Mr Ayodele further stated that an amount of $31,250, which was equivalent to D1,339,062.50, was transferred to Ecobank The Gambia and that $1,800, which was equivalent to D77,670, was also transferred to the same bank.

He said there was a withdrawal of D600,000 on 22 October 2015, from Alhamdulilai Petroleum Mineral Company Ltd to Kanilai Family Farm.

He posited that on 12 January 2016, one Alpha Jallow withdrew D5,000,000, adding that his ID card was attached but the purpose for the withdrawal was not indicated.

At this juncture, the shipment bank statement of the said company was tendered and admitted by the commission.

Next to testify was Ebrima Salla, the managing director of Trust Bank.

He said he was appointed as MD on 1 July 2016, but prior to that, he was the head of Corporate Department at the bank, adding that he was the relationship manager for 9 years.

He told the commission that he had documents with different signitories.

He posited that tax recovery accounts were opened on 1 September 2013, and that Momodou Sabally, the former Secretary General and Head of Civil Service, and Nuha Touray, Secretary to Cabinet, were signitores to the said accounts.

A letter from the Ministry of Finance dated 21 August 2013, was tendered and admitted.

Mr Salla said there was a letter signed by Nuha Touray on behalf of Momodou Sabally.

Change of signitory documents and related papers in respect of account number 100-128385-01 Trust Bank was tendered and admitted in a bundle.

He further posited that D33,822,753.88 came into the said account, and that D29,225,793.77 went out of the account, adding that D4,596,960.11 was the balance of the account.

He said that a cheque for D200,000 was paid to Gai Enterprise and signed by Momodou Sabally and Nuha Touray, adding that another cheque for D1,947,346 was on 7 October 2016, issued to Sheriff Sawaneh, a customer of the bank.

Mr Salla adduced that there was an authority signed by Momodou Sabally and Nuha Touray for the payment of D1,396,740 to Ansumana Tamba.

Mr Salla was asked by one of the commissioners whether he wondered why the tax recovery account was opened by the office of the former president and not by the Ministry of Finance.

In response, he said it raised suspicion.

Sittings continue today.


Picture: Trust Bank MD Ebrima Salla and GTBank Bolaji Ayodele
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Momodou Posted - 15 Oct 2018 : 21:08:11
Commission gets more information on Jammeh & Zineb properties


The Point: Monday, October 15, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/commission-gets-more-information-on-jammeh-zineb-properties

Lamin Touray, the registrar of companies, on Thursday reappeared before the Janneh Commission in connection to properties belonging to the former president and his wife respectively.

He was supposed to submit the rest of the files of the said properties as requested by the commission. However, he told the commission that they continued to search and discovered that Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP) was not registered.

According to him, Kanilai Family Farm (KFF) Abattoir was not also registered but Kanilai Institute for Science and Technology was registered while Excel Construction file was found but he could not trace the rest of the files.

The registrar of companies further testified that Operation Save the Children Foundation which was operated by the former First Lady was also registered. At this juncture, a copy of Kanilai Group International, certificates of incorporation for Excel Construction and KFF as well as certificates of business registration were tendered and admitted in evidence.

He told the commission that they would continue to search for the rest of the files, despite the challenges.

Detective Sub-Inspector Lamin Sanneh, of the Fraud Squad Unit, Gambia Police Force (GFP), Surveyor Bunja Janneh, Director of Lands and Survey, Kebba Ceesay, testified simultaneously in relation to General Saul Badjie’s properties.

Sub-Inspector Sanneh testified that during the course of investigations, they discovered eight properties belonging to Saul Badjie. However, he said investigations are still on-going. He said the first property was found at Bijilo and one Aisha Fatty is taken care of it.

According to him, the property is measuring 699 square metres which was confirmed by the Surveyor Bunja Janneh. He added that the land is not a layout. The director of Lands and Survey, Mr. Ceesay, also added his voice and disclosed that the land is customary. Sub-Inspector Sanneh told the commission that they were able to interrogate and obtained a statement from Aisha Fatty.

On the second property, Mr. Ceesay revealed that there is a storey building and the property measures 35×25 square metres and is part of government layout, noting that it was an open space. He said that he came across an inventory with Saul Badjie’s name; adding that the property is situated at the Brufut Heights Annex. Mr. Ceesay testified that he thought that the Brufut Heights Annex was allocated during Aki Bayo’s time as a minister for Local Government and Lands.

It was further stated that the 3rd and 4th properties are situated at Sinchu Alagie and the 4th one is under the protection of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU).

On the 5th property, Mr. Ceesay adduced that it is located at Old Yundum and it has a mass structure with 3000 square metres, noting that it is occupied by two people with their brothers.

He further told the commission that Saul Badgie also has two plots at Sukuta, adding that Saul Badjie’s mother and his brother occupied the first plot, while the second property at the same place measures 20×40 square metres and it has poultry area, and it is also a customary land which is leased.

He revealed that the 8th property is located at Salaji layout and it is empty; adding that it was allocated to General Badjie by the former government.

Commission’s Chairman Sourahata Janneh, told the director of Lands to provide the Mbarala file since it was conflicting with the testimonies regarding the ownership of the property. He observed that on this property, it bears the name of KFF.

Mrs. Bensouda told the commission that documents provided in connection to the eight properties discovered that they belong to General Saul Badjie. She then applied to tender them in evidence as exhibits.

However, Chairman Janneh told her that Aisha Fatty is a potential witness and for that reason, a subpoena was issued for her to appear before the commission. He said based on that ground, the file for the property at Bijilo would not be admitted unless she appears before the commission.

Documents indicating properties owned by Saul Badjie were tendered and admitted in evidence.

At this juncture, commission’s Chairman Sourahata Janneh, announced that the commission would resume on the 23rd of October, 2018 for continuation.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 14 Oct 2018 : 07:00:03
Commission witness testifies on General Saul Badjie’s properties
Foroyaa: October 12, 2018585


By Mamadou Dem
http://foroyaa.gm/commission-witness-testifies-on-general-saul-badjies-properties/

Officials from the Department of Lands and Survey, as well as police investigators attached to the Janneh Commission, yesterday outlined some properties belonging to General Sulayman Badjie who is regarded by the Commission as a close associate of the former president.

Detective Sub-Inspector Lamin Sanneh of the Fraud Squad Unit, Gambia Police Force (GFP), Surveyor Bunja Janneh and Director of Lands and Survey, Kebba Ceesay, testified simultaneously in relation to General Saul Badjie’s properties.

Sub-Inspector Sanneh testified that during the course of investigations, they discovered eight properties belonging to Saul Badjie. However, he said investigations are still on-going. He said the first property was found at Bijilo and one Aisha Fatty is taking care of it.

According to him, the property is measuring 699 square metres which was confirmed by the Surveyor, Mr. Bunja Janneh. He added that the land is not a layout. The Director of Lands and Survey, Mr. Ceesay, also added his voice and stated that the land is customary. Sub-Inspector Sanneh told the commission that they were able to interrogate and obtained a statement from Aisha Fatty.

On the second property, Mr. Ceesay revealed that there is a storey building and the property measures 35×25 square metres and is part of government layout, noting that it was an open space. He said that he came across an inventory with Saul Badjie’s name; adding that the property is situated at the Brufut Heights Annex. Mr. Ceesay testified that he thought that the Brufut Heights Annex was allocated during Aki Bayo’s time as a Minister for Local Government and Lands.

It was further stated that the 3rd and 4th properties are situated at Sinchu Alagie and that the 4th one is under the protection of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU).

On the 5th property, Mr. Ceesay adduced that it is located at Old Yundum and it has a mass structure with 3000 square metres, noting that it is occupied by two people with their brothers.

He further told the Commission that Saul Badgie also has two plots at Sukuta, adding that Saul Badjie’s mother and his brother occupied the first plot, while the second property at the same place measures 20×40 square metres and it has poultry area. He also said that it is also a customary land which is leased.

He revealed that the 8th property is located at Salaji layout and it is empty; adding that it was allocated to General Badjie by the former government.

Commission Chairman, Sourahata Janneh, told the Director of Lands to provide the Mbarala file since it was conflicting with the testimonies regarding the ownership of the property. He observed that on this property, it bears the name of KFF.

Mrs. Bensouda told the commission that documents provided in connection to the eight properties discovered that they belong to General Saul Badjie. She then applied to tender them in evidence as exhibits.

However, Chairman Janneh told her that Aisha Fatty is a potential witness and for that reason, a subpoena was issued for her to appear before the Commission. He said based on that ground, the file for the property at Bijilo would not be admitted unless she appears before the Commission.

Documents indicating properties owned by Saul Badjie were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Earlier, Mr. Lamin Touray, Registrar of Companies, reappeared in connection to properties belonging to the former president and his wife respectively.

He was supposed to submit the rest of the files of the said properties as requested by the Commission. However, he told the Commission that they continued to search and discovered that Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP) was not registered.

According to him, Kanilai Family Farm (KFF) Abattoir was not also registered but Kanilai Institute for Science and Technology was registered while Excel Construction file was found but he could not trace the rest of the files.

The registrar of companies further testified that Operation Save the Children Foundation which was operated by the former First Lady was also registered. At this juncture, a copy of Kanilai Group International, certificates of incorporation for Excel Construction and KFF as well as certificates of business registration were tendered and admitted in evidence.

He told the Commission that they would continue to search for the rest of the files, despite the challenges.

At this juncture, Commission Chairman, Sourahata Janneh, announced that the Commission would resume on 23 October, 2018 for continuation.
Momodou Posted - 12 Oct 2018 : 20:34:31
AT THE ‘JANNEH’ COMMISSION Business Tycoon Forced To Appear
Foroyaa: October 11, 2018

By Mamadou Dem
http://foroyaa.gm/at-the-janneh-commission-business-tycoon-forced-to-appear/

Gambia’s business tycoon Alieu Conteh, was yesterday forced to appear before the ‘Janneh’ Commission in relation to the 3 M Account.

Sources close to the Commission revealed that Conteh was arrested last Tuesday night, to enable him appear before the Commission, because he was summoned on numerous occasions and failed to appear. However, before he took his oath, his attorney Victoria Andrews, applied to be heard in chambers.

Commission Chairman Sourahata Janneh, made it clear to her that the grounds of hearing her in chambers, must be known before she would be allowed to make her oral application in secret.

Andrews, then disclosed that her application to be heard in chambers was based on the medical grounds of her client. “There are confidential medical information,” said Andrews.

She finally submitted that it was because of this, she applied to be entertained in close doors. Consequently, the application was granted and sittings continued in chambers, where she made an oral application on behalf of Conteh.

Earlier, Prince Ibrahim Sanyang, the Managing Director of Royal Africa Capital Holdings Company, continued on his testimony on the Companies he operated in and outside the Gambia.

Prior to dwelling on the subject matter, he used the occasion to apologise to the Chairman and members of the Commission regarding his last appearance before them. He sought forgiveness from Commissioners provided that there was anything wrong he said during the course of the proceedings.

He told the Commission that he was frustrated but anything wrong that he said was not intentional; that it is not his character to behave in such a way. Chairman Janneh told him that his apology was accepted.

Continuing with his testimony, Prince Sanyang told the Commission that on the 14th of February, 2018, he submitted the state of affairs of the Companies to the Receiver, Augustus Prom; that he has the certificate of Africa Brokerage Insurance Company, noting that he also submitted letters to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Attorney and Solicitor Generals, Ministry of Justice, Registrar General as well as the Registrar of Companies.

He however revealed to the Commission that after he invested at the Central Bank of The Gambia, he was asked to withdraw the sum of D10,000,000 from the account, based on executive directives; that he made a statement to the Police and told them he will pursue justice and get back his money.

According to Prince Sanyang, he was not allowed to leave the Major Crime Unit of the Police Headquarters but refuted the executive directive; that he was under duress.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked her if he was not at the Police Headquarters in relation to Asset Management and Recovery Corporation (AMRC) issues. In his response, Prince Sanyang said he made it clear to the investigators that AMRC owed him $14,000,000 after he signed an agreement with them which he claimed they did not honour; that he gave them 25 metric tons of cement which payment is still pending.

Prince Sanyang testified that he did not sign a loan agreement with the AMRC. He however said AMRC wrote him a letter while he was in detention, explaining that he owed the Company, which he denied; that his call related to the supply of commodities to AMRC; that he was not aware that the property he claimed to own, was in the name of Ansumana Jammeh, neither did he know that the state took action against him, in relation to the property.

At this juncture, Commissioner Saine asked him the source of the money he invested in the country. In response, he told the Commission that he brought the monies from abroad.

On whether he was aware that Ansumana Jammeh was arrested and remanded in custody, he responded in the affirmative.

According to Prince, his cars were impounded by the then NIA for a period of time; that there was also an executive order to arrest all the occupants in one of his Companies.

Prince Sanyang further testified that he did not make any claim against Ansumana Jammeh on the basis that he entrusted him with his properties, hoping that they will be in safe hands; but that it was a bad experience; that he wrote to Mr. Prom to allow them continue with their businesses, but that this was not possible. He said the allegation made by the receiver (Mr. Prom) that he did not find employees at his Company when he visited the place on the 7th of June 2017, was unfounded.

He refuted allegations made by the Receiver that he could not produce staff contracts; that his office was furnished with computers and files attached. He then appealed to the Commission to pay a visit to the Company. Prince Sanyang disclosed that he filed a case challenging the freezing order made against him but the matter is still pending in Court.

At this juncture, the letters he wrote to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Solicitor General, the Inspector General of Police among others, were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Prince Sanyang disclosed that his wife left the country and refused to come back. He however confirmed that Ansumana Jammeh was his childhood friend and he has been helping him whenever the need arose; that Ansumana’s wife is a niece; but that there was no advantage for him being a shareholder in his Company, despite being a brother to the former president an and Ambassador.

He finally refuted the claim that he was a close associate of former president Jammeh, claiming that he has no association with Jammeh at all.
Momodou Posted - 09 Oct 2018 : 13:02:48
Commission urges Prince Sanyang to show discipline as ‘Prince’

The Point: Tuesday, October 09, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/commission-urges-prince-sanyang-to-show-discipline-as-prince

Chairman Sourahata Janneh yesterday told Prince Ibrahim Sanyang that he had to be disciplined because he is a Prince. He told him this when he asked the witness whether he owns a bank, being an investment banker. In response, Mr. Sanyang told him that it did not necessarily mean that he owns a bank.


At this juncture, Mr. Janneh repeated his question and Mr. Sanyang answered the same but later confirmed that he did not own a bank.

Mr. Sanyang appeared before the Janneh Commission in connection to companies he operated or was about to operate in the country.

Prior to dwelling on the subject matter, he was asked to explain how he got the title of Prince. In response, he said he was traditionally crowned as a Prince. He added that he is professionally an investment banker and an economist, noting that he is the custodian of Kitisoto and eight other sacred sites at Batelling, Lower River Region, Kiang West District. According to him, his title dated back to the Mali and Karbou Empire.

At this juncture, Commissioner Saine put it to him that being an investment banker does not make him a banker. Then in reply, he said Saine’s understanding was limited.

Consequently, Chairman Sourahata Janneh intervened and told him that ever since the commission started, they had never used their power to deal with undisciplined people, and that if any king sat before the commission, they would treat him the same way. He further told him that he was at the commission to answer questions and not to ask questions.

Chairman Janneh also told him that they are not afraid of anyone appearing before the commission.

On Royal Africa Capital Holdings Ltd., he told the commission that he is the owner and has 90% share while Mr. Sanna Jaiteh and Seedy Darboe are also share holders. He added that he gave Ansumana Jammeh 10% nominal share but took the share from him (Jammeh).

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda showed him some bank accounts from Eco Bank and told him that all the accounts indicated that Ansumana Jammeh was a signatory to the accounts. In response, he said some of the accounts were dormant. He disclosed that they removed Ansumana Jammeh from those accounts.

He was again shown Africana Financial Services document, which he confirmed. He said the company operated in The Gambia and the property where it was operating from is his, noting that he is not operating from Ansumana Jammeh’s property.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda told him that he told Augustus Prom that the property from where he was operating belongs to AnsumanaJammeh, which he denied.

He alleged that he gave Ansumana Jammeh the sum of D1.5 million to buy the property for him and he started putting up some buildings to run his businesses. However, he revealed to the commission that he was not provided with a title deed but a mere receipt and that Africana Financial Service is not operating because it has been closed down by the government.

On Africana Airways, he said it operated as a company and it had a plane, noting that one aircraft came to The Gambia and that all the aircrafts went through GCAA for certification.

It was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that since September 2016 there was no transaction in some of the accounts. In response, he said his life was threatened and was asked to pay D10,000,000 which he said was an executive directive. He said as a result, he left the country but later came back in December 2016 to continue his business.

Mrs. Bensouda at this juncture put it to him that Augustus Prom said that his companies were yet to operate and that they were dormant. In response, he said he did not say so.

Mr. Sanyang told the commission that he did not have micro-finance licence; adding that the processing of his aircraft was not completed because of the freezing of his properties.

He further adduced that he was not given a licence to operate a radio and television stations, stating that Africana Insurance Company could not proceed to operate because of the freezing of his companies.

At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda put it to him that there were copies at the office of the registrar of companies to show that Ansumana Jammeh’s shares had been rescinded. Documents relating to his companies were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Sittings continue today.

Author: Dawda Fadye
Momodou Posted - 05 Oct 2018 : 13:47:08
Samba’s attorney urges commission to discharge interim order against client

The Point: Friday, October 05, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/sambas-attorney-urges-commission-to-discharge-interim-order-against-client

Mary Samba, the counsel for Amadou Samba, yesterday urged the Janneh Commission to discharge the interim order against Mr. Amadou Samba.


She was continuing her address on issues affecting her client. She said Mr. Samba exclusively owns the companies she cited earlier.

According to her, the business tycoon, Mr. Samba, testified before the commission that the former president used to ask him to negotiate properties on his behalf and then referred the commission to some of the exhibits before it. She added that Mr. Samba explained the circumstances in which a property was acquired at Tobacco Road in Banjul.

On the Observer Company, she said the commission was interested in the sale of the company, adding that Mr. Samba was approached by one Mr. Thomas who said he (Thomas) was interested.

She further told the commission that Mr. Samba told Mr. Thomas that he would transfer ownership of the company to him. She added that the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company showed that there was transfer of ownership to Baba K. Jobe and others.

Continuing her address, she urged the commission to accept the testimony of Mr. Samba regarding the sale of the “Observer” newspaper. She submitted that the leased building at Kairaba Avenue (Traffic Light) was properly acquired in accordance with the 1997 Constitution and the Lands Act respectively.

She went on to say that it was confirmed by the former minister of Lands that the said property was allocated to Mr. Samba for commercial purposes. “There was no confusing evidence to show that the land was acquired in the right way,” she submitted.

At this juncture, she referred the commission to Section 13 Sub-section 3 and 4 of the lands Act , which she said explained how lands are allocated. “I therefore urge the commission to consider the laws for allocating lands and also hold that the land was properly acquired by Mr. Samba,” said Counsel Samba.

According to her, there was an executive directive from the former president for the purchase of 5% share of the Qatari Company by SSHFC but this was not a decision from SSHFC board of directors, which she said was just a rubber stamp board under the former president.

She further disclosed that Mr. Samba had explained to the commission as to how this 5% share of the said company was purchased. She then referred the commission to Section 5 of the SSHFC Act which she cited to support her argument. “I have no doubt that these issues will be considered in your deliberation,” said Samba’s lawyer.

She further submitted to the commission that Mr. Ousman Jammeh, former secretary general, admitted that he signed a letter for a debt from SSHFC, adding that SSHFC’s former Managing Director Momodou Lamin Gibba and Finance Director Abdoulie Cham had the responsibility to protect the funds of the corporation.

Counsel Samba urged the commission to hold the former president and Kanilai Family Farms (KFF) responsible for the withdrawal of funds from SSHFC accounts. She said her client had no idea as to where the money for the Michael Jackson celebration came from, noting that public enterprises were controlled by the former government.

She further adduced that the former president was in control of all the institutions because he was a dictator; adding that directives from the office of the former president led to the circumstances in which they operated.

According to her, checks and balances, rule of law and good governance were not observed or protected under the former president and implored on the commission to hold the former president responsible for the losses of some public institutions.

Ms. Samba also pointed out that Momodou Sabally’s testimony corroborated Mr. Samba’s evidence and urged the commission to hold the former president accountable.

She said that withdrawal of funds was the directives of the former president, and submitted that there was no evidence that her client benefited from the purchase of a water tank for KFF, and then urged the commission to dismiss the evidence against her client in its entirety.

She finally submitted that none of the 12 companies operated by his client was associated with the former president.

At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda said she would reply to Counsel Samba’s address. Chairman Sourahata Janneh then told the commission that Counsel Mary Samba would be notified as to when Counsel Bensouda would reply to her address.

Victoria Andrews continued her address on behalf of Mr. Bazzi.

The commission resumes on Monday.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 04 Oct 2018 : 14:36:56
Jammeh became the supreme law of the land, not the constitution says Mary Samba

The Point: Thursday, October 04, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/jammeh-became-the-supreme-law-of-the-land-not-the-constitution-says-mary-samba

Mary Samba, the attorney for Amadou Samba, yesterday addressed the Janneh Commission and said that the former president, Yahya Jammeh, became the supreme law of the land and not the constitution.


She was addressing the commission on wide range of issues affecting her client. She said that Mr. Samba testified concerning his financial dealings, noting that he was issued with 20 summonses and he cooperated with the commission.

According to her, Mr. Samba testified on the entire summonses issued to him, adding that he swore to some affidavits and he relied on them. She further submitted that his first appearance before the commission was on the 23rd October, 2017. She argued that there were orders published in newspapers in relation to the freezing of his assets.

Ms. Samba told the commission that her client was not given the opportunity to react to the allegations against him. Still addressing the commission, she stated that the investigation of the commission should be carried out properly, with accuracy and impartiality.

At this juncture, she referred to some authorities, including a Caribbean authority to support her argument, further indicating that the witnesses should have testified under cross-examination.

Samba’s lawyer submitted that her client challenged the said orders which have detrimental effects on the business of her client, and she referred to the definition of a ‘close associate.’

She adduced that the witnesses failed to substantiate their claims and urged the commission to dismiss such pieces of evidence, noting that her client was not a close associate of the former president. Counsel Samba went on to say that her client started business when the former president was going to school, further indicating that Mr. Samba never benefited from the former president and his government.

At this juncture, she referred the commission to the proceedings of 13th November, 2017, and said that the former president took advantage of her client’s business, and that no one dared to challenge the former president.

Ms. Samba further argued that the former president undermined her client’s business, noting that he used his client to his financial advantage. She added that the former president interfered in the political dispensation of the country, noting that Mr. Samba suffered in the hands of the former president.

Still arguing, she told the commission that discussions of Mr. Samba with the former president were on social issues, and that the former president was competing with Mr. Samba.

She disclosed that the commission should verify the evidence of the witnesses before coming to a conclusion; adding that Mr. Samba has not helped neither has he associated himself with the former president.

She told the commission that there was no evidence that Mr. Samba was involved in a project initiated by Pierre Kujabi (Atepa). She therefore urged the commission to accept the testimony of Mr. Samba.

At this juncture, she referred to some companies in which Mr. Samba was a shareholder, and said that the former president never paid rent to Mr. Samba for his building he rented. She also called upon the commission to disregard the testimony of Mr. Momodou Lamin Sonko of Kharafi Group, because he was discredited under cross-examination.

Kissima Kabba, a businessman, appeared before the commission to explain about the land transaction transpired between him and the former president.

Testifying before the commission, Mr Kabba said he never worked in the public service. At this juncture, he was reminded that he made a statement to the investigators, which he confirmed.

He was told that there was a deed of gift for a land at Fajara Booster Station and Kotu. In response, he told the commission that he bought the land at Fajara and he wanted to sell it but was told by Pa Ousman Bojang that the former president was interested in the land.

He recalled that Mr Bojang told him that instead of former president buying the land, he would be given a land at Kotu with some money, noting that he spent D20, 000,000 on the land at Fajara.

Mr Kabba adduced that he wanted to live on the property at Fajara with his family, stating that he told Mr Bojang that he lost D10, 000,000 on the said property.

He further informed the commission that Mr Bojang told him that they would not make a transfer but a deed of gift, but he told Mr Bojang that he would not sign the deed of gift if he was not given the money he was promised.

He disclosed further that no one signed the deed of gift which was prepared by Mr Bojang. Mr Kabba stated that he was given a letter, indicating that Mr Bojang and the former president accepted the deed of gift, adding that he never met the former president.

He went on to say that he applied for a property at Bertil Harding Highway. At this juncture, he was shown a deed of gift prepared by lawyer Badou Conteh, which he perused and confirmed.

Mr Kabba said the document prepared by Badou Conteh was a copy which he confirmed he endorsed his signature.

He was again shown another document in relation to the property at Bertil Harding Highway. He went through the said document and testified that he did not value it.

Counsel Bensouda put it to him that it was Mr Bojang who asked him to put an application so that he would be allocated a land at Kotu, but he said he bought the said land. Again, it was put to him that the deed of gift for the land at Fajara was not meant for Kanilai Family Farm but for the former president, which he confirmed.

Mr Kabba testified further that the land at Fajara is in his possession. Then Counsel Bensouda put it to him that the said property has remained the same without any development. He answered in the positive, adding that the property is occupied by his people.

Mr Kabba, however, denied that the former president asked him to apply for a property situated at Kotu, stating that the matter was in the hands of the commission.

At this juncture, documents relating to the properties were tendered and admitted in evidence.

He further informed the commission that he had a letter he wrote to the former president asking for the sum of D10,000,000 which he was promised, adding that Mr Bojang then wrote back to say that he and the former president cancelled the deed of gift.

He finally disclosed that he spent US$400,000 on the land at Fajara.

The commission resumes today.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 28 Sep 2018 : 13:14:39
Jammeh finally forfeits properties within TDA to Gov’t

The Point: Friday, September 28, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/jammeh-finally-forfeits-properties-within-tda-to-govt

The government of The Gambia has been ordered to take full possession and control of Ex-President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh’s leased properties within the Tourist Development Area (TDA) most particularly around the Brufut Heights, Batokunkun and Tanji village in the Kombo South District of West Coast Region.


Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul made the order following a ruling premised on an ex-parte application filed by the Attorney General.

The Attorney General prayed the said court for an order discharging the freezing order made on the 22nd of May, 2018, on five properties situated within the Tourist Development Area (TDA) with serial number; K318/2008, K354/2009, K355/2009 and K176/12.

According to the affidavit in support sworn by one Kebba Ceesay, director of Department of Lands, it revealed that in the early 2017, the Attorney General and minister of Justice initiated criminal investigations into the activities of the Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh who was the head of State of the Republic of The Gambia between 22nd of July 1994 and January 2017.

The affidavit also revealed that fearing that Yahya Jammeh may seek to dispose of and/or dissipate his assets before the conclusion of investigations in order to undermine any of recovery by the State should adverse findings be made against him, the Attorney General sought and obtained from the High Court an order freezing a number of movable and immovable properties.

The deponent further revealed that the Attorney General’s investigations gave rise to the constitution of the Commission of Inquiry into the financial and business dealings of the former president, as well as several other trans-national and cross border inquiries and investigations into possible international money laundering activities and illicit trafficking of timber by the Ex-president and his close associates.

It was established that Ex-President Jammeh constantly failed to pay annual Land rent for the said properties situated at that area, designated by the State as a Tourism Development Area from the State and by issuance of the leases to him was in clear breach of the lease condition.

The affidavit disclosed that the Janneh Commission has unequivocally given its ‘no objection’ to the use of said lands by the State so as permit the State to proceed with its planned use in preparation for the Organisation of Islamic Coorperation (OIC) summit to be held in the country in November, 2019 and to allow for the development of the designated area in line with the development agenda of the State for the area.

Furthermore, in Exhibit ‘LYJ1’ attached to the supporting documents, it disclosed that the urgency of securing the release of these areas is compounded by the Gambia’s selection to host next year’s Organization of Islamic Coorperation (OIC) Heads of State Summit in November, 2019.

It further disclosed that the meeting will see the participation of some 56 foreign delegations with 40 heads of state and government in attendance and an estimated 2000 members of delegation and Press.

In Exhibit ‘LYJ2’ a letter from the chairman of the Commission of Inquiry (Janneh Commission) to the Attorney General in respect of the former president alleged properties within the Tourism Development Area (TDA).

The chairman states ‘following site visits and discussions with all relevant government stakeholders that, the commission has no objection to the release of any parcel or portion of land within the TDA as delineated in the plan but except the Bijilo Forest Park ( Monkey Park) and Tanji Bird Reserve.

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh after perusing the averments contained in the supporting affidavit declared that the application was meritorious and accordingly granted the application to discharge the freezing order in the nutshell for the Gambia government to take possession of the said properties.

Author: Bruce Asemota
Momodou Posted - 28 Sep 2018 : 11:26:26
Emporium renovates Ocean Bay for $6.5M

The Point: Thursday, September 27, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/emporium-renovates-ocean-bay-for-65m

Ms. Laly Diab, one of the proprietors of Emporium Constructions, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that Emporium renovated Ocean Bay Hotel to the tune of $6.5 million.


She was summoned in connection to a contract awarded to their company to refurbish and renovate the said hotel.

According to her, Emporium was invited by SSHFC to submit a bit for the renovation of the hotel, noting that she could not confirm whether the invitation was verbally done or written. She testified that Mr. Robert Aswanden was the consultant, further stating that they corresponded with him (Aswanden).

At this juncture, she was given some documents to peruse, which she did. She confirmed that the documents were the correspondences she sent to the consultant. The said documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Counsel Batchilly asked her whether she knew the circumstances that led SSHFC to invite Emporium to submit bids, and she answered in the negative. It was put to her that after Emporium submitted a bid, it was invited to make proposals. She then responded in the positive.

Ms Diab told the commission that Mr. Amadou Samba was the board chairman, adding that she was instructed to attend a meeting with him. She went on to say that she and Mr. Samba have friendly relationship.

Counsel Batchilly told her that she was asked to produce some documents, such as contracts. She responded that she did not bring them along because she could not find them.

The businesswoman informed the commission that the cost of the contract for the renovation of the hotel was $6.5m; adding that the company signed the contract with SSHFC and that the contract was after February, 2003.

At this juncture, she was asked whether before the contract Emporium carried out any major project. In response, she said they did not do any contract before the one they had with SSHFC.

According to her, the company was incorporated the year they were awarded the bid, further stating that they did a complete refurbishment of the hotel. She adduced that the cost of the variation which was added on the contract cost was to the tune of $1,053,837.

Document relating to the variation sum was tendered and admitted as exhibit. She was asked whether she could recall the additional works Emporium did, but she said she could not remember.

It was put to her that they did not deliver on time but insisted that they did. At this juncture, she was given some letters to go through, which she did. The said letters were tendered and admitted in evidence.

She revealed that the contract was the biggest contract they ever had.

Ms. Diab told the commission that the company completed all the works; adding that she made a statement to the investigators which she endorsed. The said statement was also admitted in evidence.

The commission resumes today.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 26 Sep 2018 : 11:45:30
‘Balla Jasseh was not a close associate of President Jammeh’


The Point: Wednesday, September 26, 2018


http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/balla-jasseh-was-not-a-close-associate-of-president-jammeh

Malick Mba’I, counsel for Bala Jassey, a telecom expert and proprietor of Mobicel Company, yesterday addressed the Janneh Commission on behalf of his client and stated that Mr. Jasseh was not a close associate of the former president.

Lawyer Mba’I, in his address, told the commission that his client was summoned on 31 January, 2018, and testified before the commission. He stated that his client was not involved in the gateway international but testified in relation to Mobicel.

He said the commission should verify the evidence in relation to Mobicel, MGI and the international gateway before coming to a conclusion, further stating that in determining the evidence, the commission should find out whether it is relevant and consistent.

Counsel Mba’I further told the commission that Mr. Kebbeh did not give any substantial evidence before the commission, indicating that his evidence was fabricated and not substantiated. He also dwelled on the evidence of Mr. Mendy of GAMTEL, and said that his evidence was not credible.

He adduced that the evidence before the commission indicated that Mobicel and MGI were just giving technical support, and that Mr. Jassey issued invoices concerning payments before the commission.

He went on to say that it was not proved that Mobicel and MGI were paid a sum of money as stated before the commission, noting that Mr Kebbeh could not confirm that D28,000,000 was more than what should have been paid to the said companies.

He stated that Sarjo Khan said in his evidence that GAMTEL lacked the training to deploy the CISCO unified telecommunication system, adding that it was not proved that GAMTEL had the capacity to deploy the said system.

He further disclosed that Gamtel entered into a contract with Mobicel for the installation of a telecommunication system at the National Assembly, and that Mobicel did the contract satisfactorily.

Counsel Mbai’l said that it was normal to give donation to the former First Lady’s foundation, and there was nothing wrong with Balla Jasseh giving donation to the foundation, adding that Mr. Jassey had no financial dealing with the former president.

He argued that the evidence presented before the commission could not justify the interim order made by the commission against Mr. Jassey, further stating that Njogu Bah denied in his evidence that he was present when the alleged bribery of US$2,000,000 was given to the former president.

He went on to say that Mr. Bah’s evidence was not reliable, and did not corroborate to the evidence before the commission, further indicating that evidence against Mr. Jassey was fabricated and was done in hatred.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda told the commission that she would like to reply to the address made by Counsel Mba’i. Then Chairman Surahata Janneh told her that notices would be issued for her to reply.

Edrissa Mass Jobe, an engineer, was also summoned in connection to the Gam Petroleum storage facility at Mandinary. He confirmed that he became involved in the company and that he was the director at the storage, adding that Mandinary was the best place for the storage facility.

He testified that he worked for Shell Company for 12 years, further disclosing that he was identifying an appropriate place for the facility. He adduced that he went to the said village where he found a place which was suitable for the storage facility, indicating that he was doing the project for himself.

Mr. Jobe told the commission that he did not identify the location at Bonto, and that his first concern was for a storage facility to be built at Mandinary. He stated that unfortunately he did not have the money to build the facility at Mandinary, adducing that he did not know that the land was acquired from the villagers.

He testified further that he was not paid by Amadou Samba and that he was just representing him to acquire the land. At this juncture, he was shown an environmental impact assessment document, which he confirmed. He revealed that he was aware of an amount of money given to the villagers, but did not know how much the land was evaluated for.

His statements were shown to him which he confirmed, and he added that he was not involved in the negotiation of the compensation to be given to the villagers. He went on to say that he was not aware of the transactions taking place.

Prince Ebrahim Sanyang, the managing director of Royal Africa Capital Holding Company Ltd. failed to appear before the commission. The secretary to the commission then informed the commission that Mr. Sanyang was served through “The Point” and “The Standard” newspapers.

Sitting continues today.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 25 Sep 2018 : 17:22:18
AT THE JANNEH COMMISSION: Foroyaa Managing Editor, Others Testify

Foroyaa: September 25, 2018

By Kebba Secka

http://foroyaa.gm/at-the-janneh-commission-foroyaa-managing-editor-others-testify/

Samuel Osseh Sarr, Foroyaa’s Managing Editor on Monday 24 September appeared before the Janneh Commission probing into the financial dealing of the former president and his close associates. Mr Sarr was summoned to produce an edition Foroyaa relating to the purchase of land at Mandinary in 2005.

In his testimony before the Commission, Sarr said, the document he had with him is the bound form of all editions of Foroyaa that were published from 1 January 2005 to 30 June, 2005. He also told the commissioners that edition Number 17/2005 dated 3-6 March 2005 was included in the bound form and contains the article entitled Amadou Samba Claims He Owns ‘Ladulaba’/ As Shell Company Clarifies. This article, he said, was published on the cover and page 2 of the said edition and relates to purchase of land at Mandinary.

At this stage, lead counsel Amie Bensouda applied to the commissioners to have the cover page and page 2 of edition No. 17/2005 admitted and marked as exhibit. She also applied to have it photocopied from a quality and professional photocopier. The application of the lead counsel was granted and the cover page and page 2 of edition No. 17/2005 were admitted and marked as Exhibit 293.

Next to appear before the Commission was the Registrar of Companies Lamin A.K Touray in connection to the business registration of various companies. In his testimony, Touray produced documents of registered companies, certificates of incorporation of companies and shareholders of various companies such as Afro Production Company Limited, Kanilai Family Farms and NAWEC.

The lead counsel applied to the commissioners to have the various bundles of documents of business registration certificates, certificates of incorporation and memoranda of articles to be admitted and marked separately as exhibits. This application was subsequently granted and the documents were admitted and marked in bundles as Exhibits 294, 295 and 296 respectively.




Foroyaa managing editor appears before the Janneh Commission


The Point: Tuesday, September 25, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/foroyaa-managing-editor-appears-before-the-janneh-commission

The managing editor of Foroyaa Newspaper, Samuel Sarr, yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission in relation to the publication made by the said newspaper on a land situated at Mandinary.

The publication, according to Mr. Sarr, who brought along bound file of copies of the newspaper, was published in June 2005.

The said file was subsequently tendered and admitted in evidence after the publication was identified by Mr. Sarr.

Abdoulie Cham, the former finance director of the Central Bank of The Gambia, also reappeared before the commission for cross-examination by Counsel Mary Samba on behalf of Amadou Samba.

Lawyer Samba questioned him on the international telex transfer made at the CBG, and was asked who approved the transfer. In response, he said the board approved the transfer. It was put to him that he was the one who effected the transfer of US$268,000 to Kenneth Y. Best.

According to him, it was the then governor, Momodou ‘Clark’ Bayo, who approved the transfer. He told the commission that they have foreign bank accounts, noting that international telex transfers were controlled.

He said the finance office which he headed was responsible for settlement when it was put to him that he single-handedly effected the transfer. It was also put to him that it was correct that Mr. Samba is not working at the CBG, and he answered in the positive.

He was asked whether Mr. Samba was the account holder, and he answered in the negative. “I am baffled that this is the way you operate at the CBG,” said Counsel Samba. Again, it was put to him that he did not receive any invoice or bank statement from Mr. Samba, and he replied that he did.

At this juncture, he was told that he was grossly negligent in the execution of his duties, but he denied it. He was asked who the signatory to the account was. He told the commission that Ebou Jallow and Edward Singhatey were the signatories.

Lamin Touray, the registrar of companies, also reappeared before the commission to produce documents relating to certain companies, such as Kanilai Afro Production, NAWEC and Meeting Point Company.

Documents relating to the said companies were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

The commission resumes today.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 21 Sep 2018 : 19:41:11
‘Sometimes there was no money to pay auditors’

The Point: Friday, September 21, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/sometimes-there-was-no-money-to-pay-auditors

Bai Matarr Drammeh, a businessman, yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission and stated that the Jammeh Foundation for Peace sometimes had no money to pay auditors. He was summoned in relation to the said foundation. He told the commission that he was a board member in 2005 at the foundation, and also deputy chairman of the fundraising committee.
He testified that he was invited as a board member, noting that the foundation was a charitable organisation and that he did not see the constitution of the foundation. He said that the foundation was an NGO, adding that he did not request for the copy of the constitution neither was it given to him.
Mr Drammeh disclosed that permanent secretaries, Ardy Sarge, Badara Mbaye, Marie Saine-Firdaus and Mama Singhateh were members of the board, further indicating that Sulayman Badjie was acting as CEO.
He confirmed that he became a signatory to the dalasi account of the foundation, and that he was never presented with a dollar request. At this juncture, he was given some documents to confirm his signature.
He then went through them and confirmed his signature, revealing that he was not aware that the former president was a signatory to the account. He told the commission that the function of the foundation was to raise funds, which were handed over to the foundation, stating that the CEO would bring reports to their meeting.
Mr Drammeh narrated that the foundation was audited every year, indicating that Alieu Ceesay audited the foundation not very long. He disclosed that he heard about the grants given to the Jammeh Foundation from the Taiwanese government , adding that what he knew was limited in relation to the funds from the Taiwanese government.
He testified that they were given school books worth of $75,000 and Father Gough also gave the foundation $5,000, further saying that they were not informed that grants were coming to the foundation.
It was put to him that he should have gone through the audit at the time, and in response, he said they were limited to some activities happening at the foundation. He told the commission that certainly monies were coming in dollars but they were not involved.
At this juncture, his statement was given to him to identify, and he confirmed endorsing it, narrating that PEGEP was a separate organisation dealing with girls’ education. He informed the commission that Dominic Jammeh became CEO of PEGEP, stating that monies would come to PEGEP for the Jammeh Foundation but Dominic Jammeh would tell him that they spent the money, and promised to refund it.
He testified that when they received cheques, they would go directly to the former president. It was put to him that over $10,000,000 was paid into the foundation. In response, he said they only knew the funds they raised but they never knew anything about the said money.
Documents relating to his statement and the foundation were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Next to testify was Ms. Nancy Seedy Njie, a business woman, doing catering services. She was summoned in connection to the same subject matter. She told the commission that she was the minister of Tourism from 2008 t0 2010, further stating that she was the CEO of the foundation from 2010 to 2013.
She adduced that she was sacked as minister in 2010, and her responsibility at the foundation was to manage the staff and to report to the board. She told the commission that the former president was the patron of the foundation and the former first lady was the president.
She indicated that she saw the constitution and read it, noting that the foundation was set up by the former president to help the needy and empower girls. She testified further that they sought the advice of the board before doing anything, stating that Ardy Sarge was the chairman of the board, and they did not have a budget.
Ms. Njie adduced that she did not know that the foundation was receiving monies from the Taiwanese government, indicating that she never dealt with any dollar account. At this juncture, she was shown letters dated 4th July, 2010, and 4th April, 2011, indicating transfers of monies to the Trust Bank account of the foundation which was believed she signed, and confirmed signing them.
At this juncture, she was shown a statement of dollar account to the tune of $5,000 which she signed. She stated that the said amount was donated by Father Gough.
It was put to her that $2,000,000, $500,000 and $500,000 were donated by Euro Africa Group. In response, she told the commission that they never received any statement from Trust Bank indicating that they had a dollar account.
She revealed that she was only aware of the dollar account of Father Gough, adding that she was not aware that the former president was a signatory to the foundation’s account. She said that the Taiwanese embassy did not find out monies they put into the dollar account of the foundation.
At this juncture, dollar account statement of the foundation and other documents were tendered and admitted as exhibit.
She testified that she had nothing to do with the presidential treatment programme neither did she have anything to do with PEGEP.
Hearing continues on Monday.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 19 Sep 2018 : 14:49:56
Ex-Local Gov’t minister admits 28 lands allocation to Jammeh not proper


The Point: Wednesday, September 19, 2018


http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/ex-local-govt-minister-admits-28-lands-allocation-to-jammeh-not-proper

The former minister of Local Government and Lands, Ismaila Sambou, yesterday stated before the Janneh Commission that it was not proper to allocate 28 lands to the former president, Yahya Jammeh. He was summoned along with Momodou M.K. Colley, who is also a former Local Government and Lands minister, in connection to the leasing of lands allocated to the former president.


Testifying before the commission, Ismaila Sambou stated that he was minister from 2005 to 2010, noting that he served the previous government as ambassador. He went on to say that he worked in the First Republic for twenty-five years, stating that he also worked at the cooperative union and for the International Labour Organisation {ILO}.

Mr. Sambou disclosed that he joined the central government during former President Jammeh’s time. At this juncture, he was given a letter which indicated that he was being appointed as a minister.

He adduced that after five years as minister, he was terminated and was appointed as an ambassador, adding that his last appointment was as an ambassador.

Counsel Bensouda reminded him that he was summoned in connection to the period he served as minister of Local Government and Lands, and that he approved 28 properties which were allocated to the former president.

In response, he stated that he did not allocate lands but approved the allocation of lands. He was asked whether he was aware of the power given to him by the law to approve the allocation of lands, and he answered in the positive.

Further testifying, he told the commission that he would approve for the allocation of lands if allocators recommended it, noting that he never allocated more than one land to anybody for any reasons.

Counsel Bensouda told him that there was an allocation of land at Fajara Water tank. He was then given some files to identify but after perusing them, he said he could not remember them.

He was again given other files to identify and was told that there were no applications from the Kanilai Family Farms or the former president to allocate the lands. In response, he told the commission that it was the board which was responsible for the scrutinizing of the allocation of lands, but not him.

Counsel Bensouda put it to him that a layout at Cape Point was created. He stated that one of the properties was allocated to his wife, Lamarana Bah. He was told that the layout was to be an open space, but he said he did not know that other people were allocated lands at the layout.

At this juncture, other files were given to him which he perused, and said that this was the first time to see the files. However, he confirmed submitting some files to the investigators.

Counsel Bensouda subsequently tendered the documents and were admitted in evidence.

Earlier, Momodu Colley told the commission that he is a retired civil servant as director of physical planning but he once served as minister of Lands and Regional Government in 2014.

He adduced that he served for 5 years as director of physical planning but served for 33 years at the ministry of physical planning, noting that he is a construction engineer.

He was told that he was summoned in connection to leases he approved, and was put to him that he issued four leases to Kanilai Family Farms. He was also told that all the leases are within the Kanifing Municipal Area.

It was put to him that the lease of land at Kotu comprised 30.6 hectares, and that the commission wanted to know why it was issued. On the Kotu Point lease, he was told that it comprised 2.9 hectares and that there was nothing in the file to show why the land was leased.

He was also informed about the other lease at Kotu Quarry which comprised 19.7 hectares for Kanilai Family Farms. Mr. Colley was also told that there was another lease at Old Jeshwang which comprised 3.69 hectares and it is partly a wetland.

In response, he disclosed that he was fully aware of the four files when they were brought to his office for approval, noting that he objected upon verifying the files. He stated further that he instructed his permanent secretary for the leasing of the lands to go through the right procedures.

Counsel Bensouda put it to him that there was no minute in the files, and he said that it was the negligence of the staff under him. He testified further that he showed his dissatisfaction in the way things were going; adding that he and the former president challenged each other and this was why he was relieved of his position.

At this juncture, he was given his statement to endorse his signature, which he did. Documents relating to the leases issued to the former president were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Counsel Bensouda asked him why the former president would want to acquire these leases. In response, he told the commission that the situation in the country at the time was not normal. He further testified that the former president’s action and rule of law has changed Gambians.

Mr. Junkung Bayo, former general manager of the Central Bank, dwelled on the $35,000,000 loan given by the Taiwanese government to the AFPRC government.

The commission continues sitting today.

Author: Dawda Faye




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03XStOS5ZJI

Related Topic: Former Lands Minister denies land birthday gift to Jammeh



Momodou Posted - 13 Sep 2018 : 14:11:42
Ex-attorney general goes through vigorous questioning

The Point: Thursday, September 13, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/ex-attorney-general-goes-through-vigorous-questioning-1

Former attorney general and minister of Justice, Edward Gomez, yesterday went through vigorous questioning before the Janneh Commission, posed by Counsel Bensouda in connection to the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel.


Mr Gomez told the Commission that he has been a legal practitioner for 38 years. At this juncture, he was shown a document believed to have been endorsed by him. Another document was also shown to him, which was endorsed by him as well.

Having gone through the documents, he told the commission that he had seen the said documents and the endorsement. He confirmed that he endorsed the documents. He adduced further that he was only presented the documents to endorse them, and he could not tell the commission who gave him the documents to endorse them.

He said from 2010 to 2012 he was the attorney general and minister of Justice, noting that the documents were presented to him by someone from the State House, and that they needed them urgently.

Mr. Gomez testified further that he did not have any relationship with the former president, stating that he was not acting as a lawyer for the former president. He disclosed that circumstances dictated him to do what he had done.

According to him, nobody instructed him to sign the documents, further indicating that he does not know Catherine Tamba. He disclosed that he made a deed of gift for the former president, and that the former president needed the property at Sukuta.

Still testifying, he informed the commission that his understanding was that the former president was going to establish an estate but sold the property to an estate company. He revealed that he did not receive a single butut for signing the documents, stating further that he had no connection to Kairaba Beach Hotel neither did he meet the parties.

Mr. Gomez posited that he did not know why he was selected to sign the documents, indicating that the signing of the documents was not proper because it implied that it was endorsed purportedly by him as the legal counsel.

He said that he never saw again those who asked him to endorse the said documents.

Isaac Mendy of GAMTEL was next to testify on the Gateway management. He was given a document to explain its contents. He told the commission that the document was a plan, and it was a transfer of capacity.

Modou Nying, also a GAMTEL member of staff, dwelled on the said document and indicated that MGI had a presence and that they brought documents for them to sign. He disclosed that they had worked with all the gateway managers and there was no restriction.

At this juncture, MGI’s log book and other documents were tendered by Counsel Bensouda and were admitted in evidence.

Mr. Nying finally told the commission that he was aware of BPI, and that MGI installed the tele-switch at Abuko.

Hearing continues today.

Author: Dawda Faye

Momodou Posted - 12 Sep 2018 : 13:51:40
Bungalow Beach Hotel proprietor faces Janneh Commission


The Point: Wednesday, September 12, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/bungalow-beach-hotel-proprietor-faces-janneh-commission

Mr. Ardy Sarge , a hotelier and the proprietor of Bungalow Beach and Sarge’s Hotels, yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission in connection to the Jammeh Foundation for Peace.


He said the foundation was a charitable foundation, noting that he never read the constitution of the foundation. He testified that in 2002 he became involved in the foundation but did not have any documents relating to the foundation.

He told the commission that he was co-opted by the former vice president, Isatou Njie-Saidy as member of the technical team, noting that he was appointed as chairman for the fund raising committee. Mr Sarge further testified that he was called in to serve as a board member.

He further adduced that he was a signatory to Guaranty Trust Bank, Trust Bank, Skye Bank and Zenith Bank accounts of the foundation.

According to him, the purpose of the foundation was to pay school fees for students, raise funds and to help the needy, stating that the foundation was incorporated and registered. He went on to say that the then fund raising chairman explained the constitution to him.

He stated that he did not know the legal implication attached to being a member of the foundation, indicating further that in 2005 he became a board member.

He recalled that the former president was not a signatory to the accounts of the foundation, adding that he counter signed cheques.

He informed the commission that the source of funds were from gala dinner and from philanthropists like Father Gough , revealing that there were audited accounts and for some years the accounts were not audited .

He said Baboucarr Cham was one of the auditors, and that they used to have meetings every other month at the former vice president’s office. He stated that he could not remember whether they had a budget, adding that they never received accounts from the management.

He testified further that he was not aware of Taiwanese funds coming into the accounts, noting that it was only Father Gough’s donations he could remember.

He posited that bank statements were requested by the CEO to reconcile with her accountant.

At this juncture, he was shown some accounts to go through, and confirmed that he was a signatory to the Trust Bank account, further revealing that his signature was replaced with Ansumana Jammeh’s signature.

Mr. Sarge posited that he was not aware that there was a payment of $2,000,000 into the account, adding that he did not know Euro Africa Group but heard about it. He further testified that he was not either aware that Euro Africa Group paid US$ 1,000,000, US$100,000 as well as other payments the company had made. It was put to him that US$ 200,000 was withdrawn from the account by the former president, a letter of credit to the tune of over US$800,000 and that US$,100,000 was also withdrawn by the former president. It was further put to him that US$166,000, US$250,000, US$448,000, D20, 000,000 and D15, 000,000 were transferred to the account of the former president from the foundation’s account.

In response, he said he was not aware of all these withdrawals. Again, it was put to him that being the director of the board, he was responsible for the transaction of the foundation but he said he was only approving payments but he never signed for the withdrawals.

He narrated that he could not remember signing a cheque in 2002 and that the former vice president insisted that there should be a management report. He noted that he was not active for the past years, and that he could remember Nancy Njie and Ansuman Jammeh as the CEOs of the foundation.

At this juncture, a letter dated 5th January, 2012, was shown to him, indicating the transfers of US$150,000 and US$4000 respectively. In response, he said this was the first time to see the letter.

Next to testify was Abdoulie Cham, former finance director at the Central Bank. He was summoned in connection to ” Daily Observer” in respect of money transferred to Kenneth Best from the CBG. He said he made a statement to that effect.

Counsel Bensouda reminded him that a sum of US$268,000 transfer was made for the acquisition of “Daily Observe”. In response, he told the commission that Amadou Samba brought the details of Mr Best, such as bank statement and invoices, but he did not see the late Baba Jobe.

At this juncture, his statement was tendered and admitted as exhibit.

He finally testified that he did not see any written instruction to transfer the said money to Mr Best.

Sulayman Suso, the managing director of GAMTEL, was the next witness to testify in connection to the contract between GAMTEL and the National Assembly for the installation of telecommunication system.

He said during the construction of the Assembly, there was a multi-sectoral meeting to look at the infrastructural project for the Assembly in terms of ITC and telecommunication. He further stated that GAMTEL was invited and he attended the meeting but did not chair it, noting that the ministries of Communication and Works were represented at the meeting.

He told the commission that the ITC facility was not sufficient for the Assembly and there was no mention of any specific supply, further revealing that there was a second meeting and that he stopped attending meeting.

Mr. Suso adduced that generally different technologies were looked at, and minutes were generated by the GAMTEL team but it was not circulated, stating that CISCO is a vendor that manufactures equipment and that GAMTEL and CISCO vendor were training engineers.

He said that he did not agree that GAMTEL was not competent to manage the CISCO system.

Under cross-examination by Lawyer Malick Mba’I, who was representing Mobicel Group, it was put to Mr. Suso that there was no decision made to deploy the unified communication system. In response, he said GAMTEL deployed the system before the one at the Assembly, adding that he did not know the person managing the system.

The commission resumes today.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 11 Sep 2018 : 14:59:03
Jammeh influenced the leasing of Sun Beach Hotel Lawyer Batchilly Reveals

The point: Tuesday, September 11, 2018


http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/jammeh-influenced-the-leasing-of-sun-beach-hotel-lawyer-batchilly-reveals

Lawyer Musa Batchilly, yesterday challenged Mr. Edward Graham, former managing director of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, before the Janneh Commission that the former president, Yahya Jammeh, influenced the leasing of Sun Beach Hotel. And in response, Mr. Graham confirmed it.


Mr. Graham reappeared in connection to the leasing of Ocean Bay and Sun Beach Hotels to BP Investment Group.

He told the commission that it was correct that there was a letter from Cordial dated the 13th of August, 2013; adding that SSHFC’s desire was to get someone who would refurbish the hotel, especially the leaking roof.

After confirming the said letter, he testified that a new client had nothing to do with what happened 10 years ago, noting that initially, the sum for the investment was D300,000,000 and eventually it was D400,000,000.

At this juncture, he was given a document to go through, which he did, and said that he had seen it before. He added that apart from BPI, there was another company that offered to lease Ocean Bay Hotel to the tune of D2, 000,000 per annum but that offer was rejected.

According to him, they negotiated with BPI when they made some proposals to pay for the leasing of Ocean Bay Hotel. Again, another document was given to him to identify, which he did and stated that it was a directive from the office of the former president to deal with BPI.

He said the first 5 years; BPI offered €1000 as well as for the 2nd 5 years. He confirmed that BPI was to deduct €6000, noting that according to the executive directives, the hotel would be leased to BPI.

At this juncture, Counsel Musa Batchilly put it to him that Ocean Bay Hotel was purchased to the tune of D45, 000,000, which was confirmed by the witness. However, Lawyer Batchilly said it was not a good deal but Mr. Graham challenged that it was indeed a good return.

Counsel Batchilly further put it to him that the sum of $6,500,000 was spent on Ocean Bay Hotel for renovation, and that the leasing of Ocean Bay and Sun Beach Hotels was inspired by the former president through a directive. In response, Mr. Graham said it was not to his knowledge.

Counsel Batchilly then put it to him that they could have got a better offer to lease Ocean Bay Hotel, and the witness agreed.

At this juncture, SSHFC board resolution was tendered and admitted as exhibit. The witness further confirmed that the board resolution came after the directive.

Lawyer Batchilly also told the witness that after the board meeting, SSHFC wrote to the office of the former president to lease Ocean Bay Hotel and later got an approval from the said office.

According to Batchilly, after the approval, there was an agreement between SSHFC and BPI to lease Ocean Bay Hotel. Further putting it to the witness, he said BPI did not seek approval of SSHFC to renovate Ocean Bay Hotel, which was confirmed by the witness.

Putting it to the witness, Counsel Batchilly said BPI failed to present receipts, invoices and bill of quantities to show their expenses on the renovation of Ocean Bay Hotel.

At this juncture, a correspondence written by BPI was tendered and admitted in evidence. Mr. Batchilly told the witness that in 2011, and 2012, there was an executive directive to purchase Sun Beach Hotel to the tune of $5,900,000.

Again, a letter from the office of the former president authorising the sale of Sun Beach Hotel was tendered and admitted as exhibit.

At this point, Counsel Batchilly put it to the witness that the former president influenced the leasing of Sun Beach Hotel to BPI, which was confirmed by Mr. Graham.

The witness disclosed to the commission that the investment on Ocean Bay Hotel was not bad, but it was the operation where tax payers’ money was not put in good use.

Hearing continues today.

Author: Dawda Faye



‘Investment in Ocean Bay Hotel Was Not Bad’ Edward Graham

Foroyaa: September 11, 2018

By Mamadou Dem

http://foroyaa.gm/investment-in-ocean-bay-hotel-was-not-bad-edward-graham/

Contrary to what was said by the current Managing Director of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation Muhammed Manjang, that investment on Ocean Bay hotel was detrimental, his predecessor Edward Graham, yesterday September 10th, told the ‘Janneh’ Commission, investment on the said Hotel was not bad; that rather it was the operation, where tax payers’ money was not put in good use. Graham reappeared in connection to the leasing of Ocean Bay and Sun Beach Hotels, to BP Investment Group. He told the Commission that it was correct that there was a letter from Cordial dated the 13th of August, 2013; that SSHFC’s desire was to get someone who would refurbish the hotel, especially the leaking roof.

After confirming the said letter, he testified that a new client had nothing to do with what happened ten years ago, noting that initially, the sum for the investment was D300,000,000, and eventually rose to D400,000,000.

At this juncture, he was given a document to go through, which he did, and confirmed that he had seen it before; that apart from BPI, there was another Company that offered to lease Ocean Bay Hotel to the tune of D2, 000,000 per annum, but that the offer was rejected.

According to him, they negotiated with BPI when they made some proposals to pay for the leasing of the said Hotel. Another document was given to him to identify, which he did and stated that it was a directive from the Office of the former President, to deal with BPI; that during the first five years, BPI offered €1,000 and continued for the second five years as well as. Graham confirmed that BPI was to deduct €6,000, noting that according to Executive Directives, the hotel would be leased to BPI.

At this juncture, Counsel Musa Batchilly put it to him that Ocean Bay Hotel was purchased to the tune of D45, 000,000, which was confirmed by the witness. However, Lawyer Batchilly said it was not a good deal but Graham challenged that it was indeed, a good return on investment.

Counsel Batchilly further put it to him that the sum of $6,500,000 was spent on Ocean Bay Hotel for renovation; that the leasing of the two Hotels was inspired by the former president through a directive. In response, Graham said this was not to his knowledge. Counsel Batchilly then put it to him that they could have got a better offer to lease Ocean Bay Hotel, and the witness agreed.

At this juncture, SSHFC board resolution was tendered and admitted as exhibit. The witness further confirmed that the board resolution came after the presidential directive.

Lawyer Batchilly also told the witness that after the board meeting, SSHFC wrote to the office of the former president to lease Ocean Bay Hotel, and later got an approval from the said office.

According to Batchilly, after the approval, there was an agreement between SSHFC and BPI, to lease Ocean Bay Hotel. Further putting it to the witness, he said BPI did not seek approval of SSHFC to renovate Ocean Bay Hotel, which was confirmed by the witness.

Further putting it to the witness, Counsel Batchilly said BPI failed to present receipts, invoices and bill of quantities, to show their expenses on the renovation of Ocean Bay Hotel.

At this juncture, a correspondence written by BPI was tendered and admitted as exhibit. Counsel Batchilly told the witness that in 2011 and 2012, there was an Executive Directive to purchase Sun Beach Hotel for $5,900,000. Again, a letter from the office of the former president authorizing the sale of Sun Beach Hotel was tendered and admitted as exhibit.

At this point, Counsel Batchilly put it to the witness that the former president influenced the leasing of Sun Beach Hotel to BPI, which was confirmed by Graham.

The witness disclosed to the Commission that the investment on Ocean Bay Hotel was not bad, but it was the mode of operation where tax payers’ money was not put in good use.

Sittings continue today.

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