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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 - 09 Feb 2018 : 12:00:23
I have no signing right to an account as a board member - Isatou Njie-Saidy Testifies


The Point: Friday, February 09, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/i-have-no-signing-right-to-an-account-as-a-board-member-isatou-njie-saidy-testifies

Aja Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy, former vice president of the Republic of The Gambia, yesterday acknowledged before the Janneh Commission that she had no signing right to an account as a board member.


She appeared in connection with Operation Save the Children Foundation to which she was a board member and signatory to its accounts.

Prior to dwelling on the subject matter, she gave a synopsis of her portfolios under the former government. In her testimony, she confirmed that she was a member of the foundation and it was correct that she signed a document from the Trust Bank Gambia Ltd.

However, Mrs. Bensouda put it to her that the foundation was not registered. In response, she said it was handled by the office of the former president and they were referred to the Attorney General’s Chambers for registration.

She told the commission that she believed the foundation was registered and a letter dated 6 October, 2014, addressed to the Ministry of Justice was shown to her. She said the ministry wrote to the office of the former president confirming the registration.

Further looking at a letter written to the solicitor general regarding the registration of the foundation, she said if the registration was confirmed, it would come through the office of the former president.

According to her, she did not receive the registration certificate of the foundation but the board of the foundation met and that the former First Lady once attended the board meeting in her private office. She added that the former first lady’s office was part of the office of the former president, further stating that maybe the former first lady’s office was created in the last 10 years.

The former vice president testified that the former first lady gave money to EFSTH to extend some buildings; adding that she did not think that the former first lady was regarded as a public servant.

At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda put it to her that there was no public office for the former first lady. In response, she said the former first lady had a budget approved by the National Assembly.

However, Counsel Bensouda put it to her again that it was strange for the former first lady to be a member of the board of the foundation. Dr. Njie-Saidy informed the commission that she was sent a form to fill by the former first lady to open an account for the foundation and she became a signatory to the said account.

She disclosed that she saw the objective of the foundation laudable, noting that this was why she became a signatory to the account as well as a board member. She adduced that she was not consulted when the foundation was formed and was not either consulted to be a member of the board. However, she said she was only approached to be a member of the board.

She revealed that the Women’s Bureau together with other institutions were under her purview. It was put to her by the counsel that the foundation had accounts at the Guaranty Trust Bank and Trust Bank to the tune of $130,000 and $60,000 respectively, and that the $60,000 account bore her signature.

In response, the former VP intimated that it was not her signature; adding that she did not sign the account indicating the $130,000.

She was again given other documents to confirm whether she signed them, out of which she confirmed signing only one of them which was an online account, and the purpose was to acquire a video to the tune of $3,847. “I signed because the former first lady was not available,” she disclosed.

Other Trust Bank accounts were again given to her to confirm whether she signed them, and she confirmed signing some of them. She said the former first lady saw the need to identify musicians who did a good job in Morocco, and this was why they were brought to The Gambia for an event and spent some money for the said event.

Commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, put it to her that as a board member, she was responsible for the foundation but Dr. Njie-Saidy responded that she understood that she was responsible for some activities of the foundation.

It was again put to her that she should have made sure that the foundation was registered, she responded that she did not know that the foundation was not registered.

Further responding to Counsel Bensouda, she said she did not think signing cheques was a risk she took as a member of the board. Further testifying, she told the commission that they had to organise gala dinner to generate income for the foundation.

According to her, the members of the foundation were not easily able to talk to the former first lady or the former president. When asked whether the former first lady could run a foundation by using public funds, she responded that for ethical reasons, she would not do it. She told the commission that it was only the former first lady who could explain why she was involved in running a private foundation.

Documents produced by the former vice president were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Mustapha Colley, former deputy director of Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC), reappeared in connection with Premier Agro Oil Company while the former managing director of Gamtel, Babucarr Sanyang, produced some documents and further testified on Gamtel-gateway contracts.

Meanwhile, the commission will embark on a site visit and they will resume on the 15th February, 2018.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 08 Feb 2018 : 15:19:00
Janneh Commission takes Ex-Gamtel MD to task

The Point: Thursday, February 08, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/janneh-commission-takes-ex-gamtel-md-to-task

The former managing director of Gamtel, Baboucarr Sanyang, yesterday was taken to task by the Janneh Commission.

Mr. Sanyang, who reappeared, continued his testimony on the management of the national telecom gateway contracts.

Testifying before the inquiry for the second time, he said Gamtel did not have the Cisco platform which was requested by the National Assembly but the company has the institution [GTMI] that trained people on Cisco platform.

According to the former national telecom boss, Gamcel has the said platform which is extended to Gamtel and the platform requested by the National Assembly was not available at the time and that was the reason the contract was subcontracted.

Mr. Sanyang confirmed signing the contract of MGI whose interest was to incorporate Gamcel for networking system, and the officials were invited at Gamtel office and had a presentation. However, he said he could not remember giving contracts to MGI other than that of the National Assembly.

He further testified that he recommended Balla Jassey of Mobicell Group for the installation of Cisco network at State House which he said was not a contract but outright recommendation. Upon looking at a letter authored by him for the refurbishment of the Cisco network at State House, he said Gamtel funds were not used in the installation of Cisco platform at State House.

However, he disclosed that the funds used were from the maintenance budget of Gamtel, as it was their responsibility to deploy and maintenance the telecom facility at State House. He said he was told by Commander Sanneh that the sum of $316,469.39 was offered to be paid partly by Gamtel; adding that he discussed the contract for the refurbishment of State House but that he did not have any document to show they had a contract with State House.

However, he said he had the approval from the office of the former president and not the board of the company/Gamtel. He said MGI contract with State House was a unilateral responsibility of Gamtel to do the maintenance of the telecom system at State House.

Mr. Sanyang revealed that he made it clear to the office of the former president that they could not do the contract beyond their capability; adding that the service rendered to State House was free and they were replacing the telecom system.

Mrs. Bensouda put it to him that the maintenance of the telecom system at State House cost $632,938 out of which Gamtel only paid $316,469.39 on behalf of State House.

At this juncture, Sanyang disclosed to the commission that the money spent on the maintenance of the telecom system at State House would be reimbursed. However, he said they did not receive any reimbursement from the office of the former president.

He added that it was their social corporate responsibility to do the service at State House unlike that of the National Assembly, further stating that the said contract was done when Gamtel was receiving funds from the gateway contract unlike before when the funds were diverted to the bank.

According to him, the social corporate responsibility was something they inherited. He said Mobicell was qualified to get the contract at State House because they had a relationship with Cisco who linked them to Mobicell.

On MGI, he said he knew the company from 2011-2012, adding that this was the company that had an interest to cooperate with Gamtel for network operations and MGI was introduced to him by Mr. Balla Jassey.

However, he said he invited them to Gamtel to do a presentation for them but could not remember whether he gave MGI the contract. It was put to him by counsel that he recommended Mr. Balla Jassey for the contract which was partly funded by Gamtel which he denied.

He said Gamtel-gateway was handled by the office of the former president, further stating that if it was the time the traffic was diverted, they would not have been able to pay for the contract at State House.

A letter from Mr. Jassey of Mobicell requesting for payments of the said amount was shown to him, which he confirmed.

On MGI Switzerland contract, he said he signed the management agreement on behalf of the government; adding that he did not have the agreement between MGI and government which was later cancelled. However, commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, asked him to find out and make it available to the commission.

According to him, he perused the agreement of the contract to make sure that the interest of the company was served, he, however, denied recommending the contract which was signed at the office of the former president.

Mr. Sanyang informed the commissioners that he did not play any role in the termination of Tell contract for the management of the gateway but he was instructed from the office of the former president through a letter to take the gateway from Tell International.

He added that his termination letter was given to him by the former permanent secretary at the Personal Management Office, Dawda Fadera, and shortly after that, he was apprehended and escorted to his office by intelligence officers and was asked to hand over to his deputy with immediate effect. He said he was later taken to the NIA for questioning on the proceeds from the gateway and subsequently charged with Economic Crime, remanded but later the charges were dropped; adding that he was reinstated in 2014.

“I never introduced MGI to General Saul Badjie and I have no knowledge whether the former president requested money from MGI,” he told the commission.

Further quizzing the former telecom boss, Mrs. Bensouda put it to him that Gamtel did not have the capacity the National Assembly required to which he responded in the affirmative. He added that Gamtel did not have qualified engineers to be able to do the service for the National Assembly.

Mr. Sanyang explained that he escorted MGI representative to Kanilai to enable him submit a letter of intent to the former Secretary General Njogu Bah, and his mission with MGI ended when the group met Njogu Bah. He said Gamtel had no agreement signed with MGI.

According to him, when he sought approval from the office of the former president to have partners for the management of the gateway hence Gamtel was not in a position to do it alone, he said MGI would undertake commitment to temporally take over the management of the gateway from Tell International.

He further disclosed that the team from Gamtel worked with MGI for the installation of Gamtel Switchboards; adding that he was not privy to the incentive requested by the former president to the tune of $10,000,000 to award the contract to MGI.

The agreement with MGI was handed over to him at the office of the former president to sign, which was a directive from the office of the former president but he could not decline signing the contract as requested by the former president, he testified.

He said he did not know whether MGI had a license to operate and Gamtel did not have direct income from MGI.

Responding to Commissioner Bai Mass Saine that government was not supportive to Gamtel but took away revenue from the institution, he said this happened in his absence and upon his return, he was briefed by the then acting MD, Mr. Suso, that the office of the former president wrote requesting for the gateway proceeds from them.

He said he did not ignore the board of Gamtel because the possibility of losing revenue and the impact was raised with the board and he also suffered to defend the interest of Gamtel.

Earlier testifying, Dodou C.M. Kebbeh, clerk of the National Assembly, reappeared in connection to the ratification of the Republic of China loan amounting to $35,000,000.

Mrs. Besouda reminded him that he was asked to produce the loan agreement between The Gambia and The Republic of China but Kebbeh responded that he went through all the records but could not find the said agreement in their files ranging from 1997 up to date; adding that he was not the clerk then but Mr. B.S. Njie.

However, he was asked to make a further search for the production of this document.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 07 Feb 2018 : 13:32:15
Edward Singhatey’s testimony was contradictory, Balla Garba Jahumpa Tells Janneh Commission

The Point: Wednesday, February 07, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/edward-singhateys-testimony-was-contradictory-balla-garba-jahumpa-tells-janneh-commission

Balla Garba Jahumpa, former minister of Finance and Economic Affairs under the AFPRC regime, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that Edward Singhatey’s testimony was contradictory.


He appeared before the Janneh Commission in connection to a loan facility amounting to $35,000,000 awarded to the AFPRC government by the Republic of China on Taiwan.

Prior to dwelling on the subject matter, he made a synopsis of portfolios he held under the former government and told the commission that the last position he held was minister of Works. He added that he was in the service for 52 years.

The former Finance minister informed the commission that he was involved in the acquisition of the said loan facility from China; adding that in March 1995, he took over from Bakary Bunja Darboe as Finance minister while the late Ousman Koro Ceesay took over from him (Jahumpa) on the said portfolio.

According to him, he followed the testimonies of the former members of the AFPRC, such as Edward Singhatey, Yankuba Touray and Lamin Karba Bajo. However, he said what he did not hear from them was the architect and facilitator for the restoration of diplomatic ties with Taiwan and acquisition of the loan, Alieu Conteh, whom he said is Gambian- American based in DRC.

Mr. Jahumpa informed the commission that he received a call from Captain Ebou Jallow that he should answer to the former president, further stating that when he entered the former president’s office his presence was announced in the presence of Mr. Conteh and Captain Ebou Jallow. He said the former president told him that the World Bank and IMF had suspended their assistance to The Gambia government but that the council had agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

He disclosed that Captain Ebou Jallow and Alieu Conteh had been travelling between Banjul and Taiwan, further stating that they were arranging for two things, namely, the diplomatic relationship with Taiwan and a loan of $35,000,000 from Taiwan.

“I was never involved in the negotiation of this loan but the former president told me that Captain Ebou Jallow would lead a delegation to Taiwan and that I would sign the loan agreement as the minister of Finance on behalf of the AFPRC,” he revealed.

According to him, the former president told him that he would be given a Power of Attorney to sign the loan agreement. However, he said he told the former president that he wanted to take the loan agreement to his Permanent Secretary Alieu Ngum, as well as his technicians for a review of the terms and conditions of the loan.

He said the former president told him that it was already dealt with by Captain Ebou Jallow, further stating that upon their arrival in Taiwan, the former Taiwanese president told them that the former AFPRC chairman should sign the loan agreement.

Mr. Jahumpa told commissioners that he told the former Taiwanese president that the former AFPRC chairman was happy that they were able to restore diplomatic relations with them and he then signed the loan.

Upon their return to The Gambia, he said Captain Jallow came to him on two occasions asking about the loan agreement but he told him that it was with him (Jahumpa); adding that according to his notes, the loan was signed on the 9 August, 1995, and the purpose as indicated in the Power of Attorney was for Agricultural Development and Life-Scale Industries.

He told the commission that he took note that the maturity of the said loan was 20 years with a grace period of 5 years and an interest of 4%, further noting that Captain Ebou Jallow asked him to give him the loan agreement but he told Captain Ebou Jallow that they had to go to the former chairman of AFPRC.

He testified that they made an agreement to go to the former president and the council, adding that he told Capt. Ebou Jallow that the Ministry of Finance needed the loan agreement.

According to him, he made a follow-up and the former president told him that he gave the loan agreement to the then governor of Central Bank, Clerk Bayo, further testifying that he told the governor that he needed the loan agreement and promised to give it to him but to no avail.

Mr. Jahumpa informed the commission that he told Alieu Conteh the difficulties he had with the governor, and that he did not brief the Cabinet about the loan agreement; adding that the governor did not inform him when the loan arrived from the Exit Bank in China.

According to him, administratively, the council was superior to Cabinet; adding that when he requested to go with Ebou Jallow to brief council on the loan, Jallow told him that he was not a member of council and he could not join him on the briefing.

He said the airport terminal and Arch 22 contracts were awarded to contractors without the involvement of the ministry; adding that the airport terminal contract was awarded to Pierre Kudiabi-Attepa while the construction of the arch was awarded to Amadou Samba.

He further testified that he had no knowledge as to how the said loan was disbursed, noting that Edward Singhatey’s statement was contradictory when he said that the Finance Ministry should have taken ownership of the loan agreement when AFPRC opened a Special Development Account to which Singhatey was a signatory.

At this juncture, Counsel Amie Bensouda told him that as the minister of Finance then, his responsibility was more substantial on the loan, and he responded in the affirmative; adding that the governor was not helpful at the time.

On the $3,000,000 allegedly stolen by Ebou Jallow, he said he was in Washington DC attending a meeting with his permanent secretary when someone told him that it was announced that the said person allegedly absconded with the said sum of money.

However, he said while briefing the chairman on the meeting they attended in the U.S., he told him that he heard about the alleged theft by Ebou Jallow but Jammeh told him that the matter was investigated by council, and once the investigation was completed, they would get back to council which was not done.

Mr. Jahumpa disclosed that he wanted to sit with the governor to tell him the truth concerning the $3,000,000 and the governor told him that he could not tell how it happened and referred him to the chairman. He said former army officer, Musa Jammeh, informed him that Captain Jallow absconded with the said sum.

Responding to Commissioner Saine, he explained that the reason for having a single copy for the loan agreement was because he thought the ministry of Finance would take ownership of the loan agreement. He said they came back to The Gambia with documents only but not with money.

He said he came to know that a cash amount of $5,000,000 was brought in by Ebou Jallow through the testimony of Lamin Kaba Bajo and was quick to add that the said sum was never brought on the same flight he boarded as Captain Jallow.

According to him, he did not know the signatories of the account at CBG but came to know them through the testimony of Mr. Abdoulie Cham, former financial controller at the bank.

On withdrawals made by the late Baba Jobe from the CBG, he said he had no knowledge of that as he was not in the country at the time. “The loan agreement was nowhere to be seen when I was a minister,” he said.

Next to testify was Dominic Mendy, finance manager, Zenith Bank Gambia Ltd.; he reappeared in connection to JFP, MALIGAM International and West Wood Gambia Ltd. accounts as submitted to the commission.

According to him, the last transaction on Jammeh Foundation for Peace account was on the 23rd March, 2016, to the tune of D607, 000 while on MALIGAM, he said all the accounts were submitted to the commission.

On West Wood Gambia Ltd., he disclosed that they had four accounts, namely Dalasi, Dollar, Euro and Pound Sterling respectively and the signatories were Dragan Simona Geatina, Gibril Armmou Makaeh, Dragos Andrei Buzaiann and Tony Tanneta. He said the Dalasi account was opened on the 26 June, 2014, and the first transaction was D10, 000 while the total deposit into the account was D6, 321,960 and the last transaction was on the 23rd of January, 2017, to the tune of D103, 000 leaving a balance of D26, 513.18 and the account was frozen.

On the Dollar account, he said it was opened on the 8 July, 2014,with the same signatories and the first transaction was on the 13 July, 2017, with a deposit of $1,759,853 while the last transaction was on the 13 June, 2017, to the tune of $2,200leaving a balance of $309.59.

Dwelling on the Euro account, he revealed that it was opened on the 8 July, 2014, with the same signatories and there was no transaction on the account, further stating that the Pound Sterling account was opened on the same date as the Euro account but there was no transaction on it too.

At this juncture, account opening information and bank statements of the said accounts were admitted as exhibits.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 06 Feb 2018 : 14:36:27
I did not have the authority to award D28M contract - Says Ex-Gamtel MD

The Point: Tuesday, February 06, 2018


http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/i-did-not-have-the-authority-to-award-d28m-contract-says-ex-gamtel-md

Babucarr Sanyang, former managing director of GAMTEL, yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission and said that he did not have the authority to award a contract to the tune of D28, 000,000 to Mobicell Company.


He was testifying in connection to Gamtel-gateway contracts.

He said he was the managing director of Gamtel from December, 2011, to September, 2013 when his service was terminated but reinstated in February, 2014, and terminated in March, 2017.

According to him, prior to this, he was the deputy managing director of Gamtel and had served GAMTEL for 37 years. Commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, told him that there was a contract between Gamtel and the National Assembly for the installation of Voice over Internet Protocols (IPVS) at the new assembly building in Banjul.

The witness was shown a document showing an additional work at the assembly which he confirmed to have signed; adding that the sum of $588,808.17 was the amount subcontracted to Mobicell Company, further noting that it was the National Assembly that sought for the approval of GPPA for the contract to GAMTEL.

Mr. Sanyang testified that he signed the contract between Gamtel and the National Assembly; however, he said there was no contract signed between Mobicell and Gamtel regarding the subcontract for the installation of the said gargets at the National Assembly by Mobicell.

He added that he set up a team for the contract comprising officers from the customer service and technical departments of Gamtel, and they initially proposed to deploy Panasonic switchboard to avoid breaking finished work but the Panasonic switchboard was not suitable for the service they requested.

The former MD told the commission that the team he set up was headed by one Sarjo Khan including some members from the Switchboard System but when asked by Counsel Bensouda who were the other members of the team, he responded that he could not remember them off head but promised to find out and furnish the commission.

Further testifying on the project, he disclosed that they led a fibre cable which was supposed to handle both Data and Voice but it was later discovered that it was not suitable for the services required, and a Sisco platform was proposed to them.

At this juncture, a letter showing the receipt of offer of the award by the National Assembly was shown to him, and it was put to him that there was nothing to show that the National Assembly approved the contract between Gamtel and Mobicell, and that the GPPA either did not approve the same contract.

In response, he said he did not see any correspondence to show the approval by GPPA and the National Assembly for the contract by Gamtel to Mobicell. He begged to differ with the statement made by the director of Finance, Mr. Banding Sillah; that the Finance Unit of Gamtel was not in the picture of the said project and was only authorised to effect payments by him (Sanyang).

When asked by Counsel Bensouda whether he had any authority to award a contract to the tune of $28,000,000 to Mobicell without approval from GPPA, he responded that he did not have the authority to do so without approval from the board or GPPA.

He said he did not have the contract documents with him but was of the belief that they could be found in the office files; adding that he did not either have documents justifying that Gamtel earned some money from the project. However, Mrs. Bensouda told him that Mr. Sillah confirmed that Gamtel did not generate anything from this project.

Minutes of meeting read to the witness disclosed that he informed the National Assembly Members that Gamtel had the capacity and capabilities to execute the project. Mrs. Bensouda then asked him whether he could not ask Mobicell to deal directly with the National Assembly. He responded in the affirmative.

However, he said he was after the interest of his company generating some funds; adding that the proprietor of Mobicell Group is one Balla Jassey whom he came to know in 2006. According to Mr. Sanyang, Mr. Jassey was contracted with the commissioning of the AU Submit network system in The Gambia.

Responding to Commissioner Abiosseh George, he said it was an oversight for not signing a contract with Mobicell; adding the System at the National Assembly is autonomous and they were advised to commission a generator, in case NAWEC went off.

He also informed the commission that there was an incomplete work at the assembly but it was almost finished because NAM members requested for additional equipment to be installed, such as CCTV’s which he said contributed to the delay of the project and payments as well.

The former Gamtel boss revealed that they put a mark-up on the offer given to them by Mobicell and sold it to the National Assembly. However, Commissioner George told him that it was an expensive risk by Gamtel in the execution of the NAM project because members from the finance and legal units were not part of the team.

Further responding to commissioners, he told Commissioner Bai Mass Saine that the National Assembly was aware that the project was outsourced to Mobicell but they never raised any objection; adding that his team and Mobicell were all managing together, as the National Assembly had an issue with payments from the Ministry of Finance.

He finally testified that the system at State House was directly under the office of the former president but he did not recommend for Mobicell to work directly with State House. “I wanted to generate money for my company from Gamtel-Mobicell-National Assembly contract,” he told the commission.

Earlier, Banding Sillah, director of Finance, GAMTEL, reappeared in connection to Gamtel gateway contracts and testified that he showed an IPVS System that had to do with the Switchboard at Gamtel, as he also dwelled on the contract between Gamtel-Mobicell and the National Assembly.

According to him, he knew the contract through an email informing them that it had been signed between Gamtel and the National Assembly; adding that he was disconnected from the system.

He further testified that there was a part payment of D14,000,000 and called the former NIA boss and asked what happened, noting that the former NIA boss told him that the contract was between Gamtel and the National Assembly and that Gamtel had subcontracted the contract to Mobicell.

The Finance director revealed that he was not privy to any contract and was told that Gamtel was given another contract by the National Assembly and the said sum of D14, 000,000 was paid to Mobicell while there was additional payment of $35,000 for late interest payment.

He said they had a procurement policy as per the GPPA Act and if they had contracts, the procurement department of Gamtel would initiate the process internally provided that it was not beyond D500,000 but anything more than this amount, they would invite for quotations. He said they would open a tender and there would be a tender box at Gamtel where suppliers would put in their bids and the tender would be opened which they would go through.

According to him, there was a committee that would do the contrast and they would write to the winner. He told the commission that there was an approval from the GPPA for the National Assembly to award the contract to Gamtel. He disclosed that Gamtel also provided similar services to other institutions for the IPVS system.

Mr. Sillah at this juncture disclosed to the commission that Gamtel could have done the project without subcontracting it to Mobicell; adding that he had two letters and one was addressed to the clerk of the National Assembly, dated 15th January, 2015.

However, he testified that he did not find a letter concerning the subcontract awarded to Mobicell by Gamtel, further stating that the total value of the contract was D28, 000,000.

According to him, if Institutions wanted services from Gamtel, they could also pay in full and take ownership of the equipment; adding that he did not have any document relating to the system at State House, neither was he privy to the financial status of Gamtel-National Assembly contract.

However, he told the commission that he was informed that Gamtel would only benefit after the commissioning of the project. He added that on the late payment by Gamtel, Sarjo Khan sent a letter to the National Assembly informing them that they were ordered to settle the bill of late payment which was to be refunded by the National Assembly.

Mr. Sillah further revealed that Trust Bank paid Mobicell the sum of $585,807.77 as well as $35,000 as late payment. He said they had written to the attorney general and minister of Justice for legal opinion on Gamtel, Mobicelland National Assembly contract for Mobicell not finishing the project which was fully paid for.

He finally testified that he did not come across any document showing that the National Assembly agreed for the contract given to Gamtel to be subcontracted to Mobicell.

Dodou C.M. Kebbeh, Clerk of the National Assembly, also testified on the same subject matter.

Hearing continues today at Ndjembe Hotel.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 02 Feb 2018 : 14:30:23
Gamtel performed well during Jawara’s time

The Point: Friday, February 02, 2018


http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/gamtel-performed-well-during-jawaras-time

Gamtel Consultant Discloses

Alagie Abdoulie Kebbeh, telecom engineer and consultant, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that Gamtel performed well during Jawara’s time.

He was testifying in connection to a contract between MGI and the Multimedia Gateway Incorporation.

According to him, the said contract was signed by Balla Jassey and Babucarr Jabbai in October, 2014, further stating that the purpose of the contract was for the implementation of the gateway.

Further testifying, Mr. Kebbeh said he had the contract documents of MGI for the management of Gamtel international gateway.

However, he said he did not have the memorandum and articles of association of the company.

The telecom expert at that point produced correspondences which included the duty waiver for Mobicell and other documents relating to the contract and other projects which were addressed to the Secretary General. He added that the contracts were not subjected to competitive bidding.

He also informed the commission that there was a duty waiver on MGI contract and they did not find out whether they were paying corporate taxes; adding that the taskforce report did not look into the issue of tax for MGI in Switzerland or its subsidiary company in The Gambia.

Rectifying his previous testimony on the payment received by MGI from Gamtel gateway proceeds, he said the sum of $600,000 was effected from the 1st of June, 2014, to 31st December, 2014, and also $800,000 up to the end of 2016 when the contract started.

Dwelling further, he said Gamtel did not benefit from the contract and that all the monies went to Spectrum. He said Gamtel had no autonomy to manage the company; adding that the monies went to CBG and not to Gamtel.

Mr. Kebbeh testified that they did not suggest to the former government to sell Gamtel shares. He said what he meant by ‘autonomy’ was that Gamtel should decide on matters concerning Gamtel and the management of the gateway. He recollected that Gamtel was among the best companies in terms of communication after South Africa.

He assumed that if the company enjoys autonomy, it would regain its lost glory. He said the companies that signed contracts with Gamtel for the management of gateway were not investors but business group who showed interest in the national telecom company.

According to him, the shareholders of Gamtel (government) seized the revenue of the company and interfered with its affairs which had affected the company. He said Gamtel’s debt was about 1 billion dalasis.

At this juncture, when he was asked by Commissioner Saine, he said he did not think that the termination of traffic at the office of the former president stopped.

Documents relating to the management service reports as well as certificates of incorporation were admitted in evidence.

Next to testify was Abdoulie Jallow, permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance, who reappeared in connection to the disbursement of $5,000,000 to a Central Bank account. He told the commission that they could not establish the beneficiary of the said amount.

According to him, the normal procedure was to follow their tender procedure and when it was finalised, the supervisor or the government consultant would authorise or certify for payments. However, on a $35,000,000 loan, he said they did not have any evidence that the Ministry of Finance was involved.

Commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, told him that in 1999, there were grants signed by the government but the witness responded that grants were handled by the office of the former president; adding that he did not know anything regarding the Republic of China, and The Gambia protocols.

It was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that substantial grants were made by Taiwan. In response, he said most of the grants were involved in the development assistance; adding that his ministry was fully involved in grants given to The Gambia as it must be included in the estimates presented to the National Assembly and are treated under Revenue and Grants Section.

However, Mr. Jallow revealed to the commission that his ministry did not play any role in the grants granted by Republic of China on Taiwan, because the ministry was not involved in grants prior to 2013.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 02 Feb 2018 : 09:38:49
MALIGAM International owes D5.4 M to Mega Bank -MD Omar Jatta testifies


The Point: Thursday, February 01, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/maligam-international-owes-d54-m-to-mega-bank-md-omar-jatta-testifies

Omar Jatta, managing director, Mega Bank, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that MALIGAM International owes the bank the sum of D5, 400, 000.


Mr. Jatta appeared in connection to Kanilai Group International (KGI) and MALIGAM accounts submitted to the commission’s Secretariat.

According to Mr. Jatta, he was appointed by the Central Bank of The Gambia but prior to that he was a staff of CBG from 1980 but retired in 2017 and became MD of the said bank in July, 2017.

He told the commission that he could not produce some of the documents requested by the commission because they could not trace the records from the PHB archive; adding that the ownership and management of the bank had changed over the period and the software system had also changed.

On KGI account, he informed the commission that he had the certificate of business registration and the account was opened in 2009 and the first transaction was on the 11 September, 2009, and the sole signatory was Pa Ousman Bojang which did not change. He said the account is dormant.

Dwelling on MALIGAM, he testified that it was a current account opened on the 15 September, 2009, and the signatories were Sanna Bah and Ansumana Jammeh, further stating that the outstanding amount was D5, 390,000 and the account was frozen.

According to him, the total withdrawal from the account was D35,097,207.50 while the total credit was D29, 704,426.91 and the balance was D5,392,000. On KGI account, he said the total debit was D3,382,184.25 while the credit was D3,389,732.68 and the balance was D7,548.48.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked the witness to make further search on Kanilai Family Farms account and present them to the commission. Mr. Jatta revealed that PHB bank was owned by Nigerians but due to imprudent lending by the bank, CBG decided to take over the bank and they injected capital.

Responding to Commissioner Bai Mass Saine, he said the practice was not an arrangement for the long-term and CBG was not obliged to use this method as there were so many other options but this one was the best among them and the strategy was to attract investors.

On whether there could be someone else other than a former CBG staff to run the bank, he responded that the management of the bank was not restricted to CBG staff only but rather other interested parties. He added that he did not come across any record showing that the former president had interest in the bank.

Mr. Jatta stated that the bank was acquired by both the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance; adding that part of the proceeds generated would go back to government but if there was any loss, the government and CBG would bear it.

However, the MD told the commission that he was confident that the bank was making profit as it was working smoothly and is among the main capital banks in the country. He said he did not know whether the former president owned MALIGAM International Ltd.

Abdou Cole, former deputy chief of Mission and head of Chancery, at the Gambian Embassy in America, U.S.A., reappeared in connection to monies transferred into the said embassy’s account.

In his testimony, he said he was transferred to the embassy from 2005-2009 and he oversaw the administrative and financial matters of the embassy, further stating that he also co-signed accounts as a signatory.

The former deputy chief of Mission testified that Mr. Lamin Sanyang was the financial attaché’ who keeps the books of the embassy and also reports to him (Cole) and the ambassador.

According to him, negotiations were done in Banjul and Mr. Sanyang would travel to Banjul and send the invoices from the office of the former president and they would get back to the former president via email for approval. He said upon approval, the money would be disbursed to them to carry out transactions for the former president. He said Mr. Sanyang was exchanging emails on the procurement for the disbursement of funds.

He said when he queried about the reasons for the money, Mr. Sanyang told him that it was for the president and was strictly confidential and he (Sanyang) asked him whether he wanted to challenge the former president but he responded to him in the negative and added that he already had a problem with the former president.

The witness confirmed that the embassy banked with the City Bank in U.S.A. and he handed over to Mr. Musa Mboob, noting that Mr. Sanyang was recalled in December, 2017, while he (Cole) left in 2009. However he could not remember who replaced Sanyang as financial attaché’

Documents relating to the embassy Account including bank statements were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Mr. Pa Bubacarr Mboob, former director general of Immigration, testified in connection to the Citizenship Programme and disclosed to the commission that he was unlawfully terminated on the 22nd of June, 2017, as a result of a bilateral cooperation with Italy.

He said he travelled with a permanent secretary to Italy and they met the consul and his counterparts explained to him about the challenges faced by his department in terms of immigration and they approved forty vehicles for the Department of Immigration.

However, he said when the vehicles were allocated, he pleaded to them to change the brand to Toyota which they did and four vehicles were sent to The Gambia; adding that one Ebrima Jaiteh explained the matter to the former Interior minister, Mai Ahemed Fatty, who told them that they wanted the vehicles to be changed.

Mr. Mboob said he told Mr. Fatty that the vehicles were initially changed to a Toyota brand and the matter was forwarded to the head of state who was able to address the matter amicably and the said vehicles were delivered.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda told him that his complaint about unlawful dismissal was not within their mandate but, however, she advised him to seek for an advice on the matter.

Mr. Mboob revealed that he was told that he would be redeployed but described their action as malicious, further stating that they teamed up against him; adding that he went to the PMO and was given a letter that he was discharged on medical grounds. However, he told the commission that the said PS did not have the powers to discharge him on medical grounds.

Reacting further, he said his matter was supposed to be referred to the Medical Board for them to come up with their recommendations on his case.

On the subject matter that warranted him to appear before the commission, he said under the Foreign Investment Programme, Miracle Company was to supply manual and Alien ID Cards. He said as the watchman of Miracle’s contract, it was his duty and responsibility to update the minister of the Interior on the contract.

He further stated that without updating the minister on the contract, it might lead to legal implications; adding that The Gambia government is owing Miracle Company the sum of D9,000,000 and according to him, he brought this to the attention of the minister and asked him to check whether the contract was valid.

According to him, the foreign residency was processed by the same company and the company would process the foreign ID Cards, collect the money and pay back in dollars which was deposited into a CBG account. He said he was in the Immigration Department for 30 years and he first came in contact with this programme in 2010. However, he said he did not know when the programme started.

He said all communications with Miracle were channeled through their representative in the Gambia; adding that he did not know who collected monies from the Citizenship account at CBG but Miracle did not pay the outstanding owed to the government.

Mr. Mboob further told commissioners that he could not remember how long they worked with Miracle to produce the Alien ID Cards, neither did he find out how much Miracle was earning from the Chinese nationals. “If the Ministry signed a contract, we make sure that we go by what is in the contract. The programme was beneficial because the government benefited from it,” he told the commission.

He said he might not know the involvement of the former president in the programme but their responsibility as immigration officers was to ensure that monies were collected and deposited into the CBG account. He said Miracle had a share of 30% in the manual ID Cards which was dropped after the introduction of the biometric system in 2009.

He said no Chinese was a Gambian national under the Foreign Investment Programme.

Abdoulie Jallow, permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, also reappeared in connection to the Republic of China/Taiwan Grants and Loans respectively.

According to him, between 1995 and 2015 the Gambia government had five loans from the said Republic, noting that the first loan agreement was a project on Agriculture and Light Industries to the tune of $35,000,000 which was acquired in August, 1995. He said the loan was recorded in their Debt Management System but they could not trace the loan agreement.

“We recorded $30,000,000 in our records but the withdrawal of $5,000,000 was not brought to the attention of the ministry,” he revealed.

When told by the counsel that the sum of $2,220,000 found its way back to the CBG account, PS Jallow responded that this was not brought to the attention of the ministry; adding that they signed for $35,000,000 as loan but in terms of disbursement, they recorded $30,000,000.

He stated that the interest rate on the loan was 4% with five years grace period and it matures in 2015 that they paid the sum of $41,691,140, noting that a sum of $11,691,940 was the interest on the $30,000,000.

When asked by counsel whether the loan was ratified by the National Assembly, he said loans ratified by NAM are usually captured in their data base but notwithstanding, he promised to find out.

On NAWEC Power Supply Contract Project, he said it was meant for the purchase of generators and they secured a loan to the tune of $5,000,000 on the 18th of December, 2002, which was signed, and attracted an interest of 4% with a grace period of 5 years and it matures in 25 years.

Mr. Jallow revealed that the interest on this loan was $3,800,000 and the sum of $1,156, 665 was outstanding but after he visited the Kotu Power Station he was told that there was no 6 Mega Watts generators at the station.

The third loan he dwelled on was on the Supply of three 6 Mega Watts generators at Kotu Power Station, which was dated 1st of April, 2002, to the tune of $25,542,000, which attracted an interest of 4% with a grace period of 8 years and 25 years maturity. He stated that the sum of $12,770,954 was outstanding on this loan.

The generators, he said, were supplied by Global Trading Group before the contract was signed. On the fourth loan Gambia government entered with China was the Micro Finance and Capacity Building to the tune of $1,000,000, and was dated 8th of November, 2004, with an interest of 3% and 5 years grace period and it matures in 20 years.

He said out of this loan, the sum of $500,000 was disbursed to Social Development Fund as a grant and the remaining $500,000 was cancelled.

He finally testified that the fifth loan was for the construction of a Technical and Vocational Skill Centre at Siffoe, but there were directives for the centre to be relocated to Ndemban village. He said the loan was $3,600,000 and $1,700,000 was cancelled in 2013 when the former government terminated diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Sittings continue today.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 31 Jan 2018 : 14:08:24
I did not sign the constitution that established the foundation Says Fatou Mass Jobe

The Point: Wednesday, January 31, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/i-did-not-sign-the-constitution-that-established-the-foundation-says-fatou-mass-jobe

Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, former minister of Tourism, who was also one time executive director of Save the Children Foundation, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that she did not sign the constitution that established the said foundation. She reappeared in connection to the said foundation’s accounts.


She testified that the foundation was constituted in November, 2014, and was setup as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and confirmed that she signed documents for the secretary and all correspondences which were dispatched by her office should be seen by the secretary general.

According to her, the former first lady was the chairperson of the foundation; adding that she took over as executive director from the permanent secretary, office of the former first lady, who was also handling the affairs of the foundation.

When asked by Counsel Bensouda regarding the connection of the foundation with the office of the former president, she responded that there were no connections between the foundation and the office of the former president. However, she told the commission that the foundation was operated at State House where she had her office.

Mrs. Njie testified that this was the practice she inherited from the permanent secretary, office of the former first lady and she was part of the executive board, and there was a constitution that established the foundation. She said the foundation had a purpose and there was nothing put in place to achieve its objective. She said she did not know whether the foundation was registered.

She further stated that the board was informed about the activities of the foundation and the first lady together with the former Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy, were signatories to the account.

She informed the commission that she did not know whether the constitution was amended, further stating that the foundation was a private organisation to complement the effort of the former government.

However, Mrs.Njie stated that the said foundation had two bank accounts which were at the Trust Bank and GuarantyTrust Bank respectively, noting that the Trust Bank account was opened on the 11 May, 2015, during her time.

She told the commission that she was using the letterhead of the office of the former president as the executive director, adding that she did not need to see the sectary general to make payments.

“The accounts were funded through donations,” she testified.

She disclosed that she was guided by a five-year strategic development plan, noting that there was no guideline as to who can give out money to the foundation

It was put to her by Counsel Bensouda that the public enterprise donated to the organisation, and asked her to name them.

In response, she said AMRC, GRA, PURA and Gam Petroleum donated monies to the foundation, further stating that they would write to these institutions to make pledges when they had gala dinner. She said they made D10, 000,000 from fund raising activities out of which they donated the sum of D7, 700,000. She revealed that all funds that were deposited to GT Bank were from donations and the dollar account was credited with $20,000 and the sum of $10,000 was donated during the breakfast meeting.

According to her, the first lady of Turkey also donated the sum of $75,000 at the breakfast meeting and the sum of $130,000 was transferred to a Moroccan company for leasing of equipment for the event. However, she agreed with the counsel that there were subsequent transfers made to the same company in Morocco which she said was all in line with the event.

She said the total sum of money paid out for the event was $400,000; adding that she did not do any due diligence and what she saw was an invoice requesting for payment but she could not pay further, as there were no funds and she only paid the sum of $130,000 and $60,000 respectively.

Further buttressing on the leasing of equipment, she disclosed that she paid 48,174 Dinar which was equivalent to $80,000, as they made two different payments to the tune of $38,000 and $42,000 respectively. She testified that she did not prepare any financial statement of the foundation.

She confirmed applying for a land on behalf of the foundation at The Gambia Tourism Board under the directive of the former president which was granted; further stating that the land issue came about after a meeting was held and the purpose was to build a shopping complex.

Mrs. Njie said The Gambia Tourism Board was not forced to give out the land which they applied for because it was not a directive from the former president and she had returned the lease to them in December, 2017.

She said they were advised by a Tunisian architect to apply for a land to enable them generate enough income for the implementation of their activities. The witness further confirmed that over $800,000 was paid to Online Verbal Video.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked her if she would be able to provide the commission with a total income of the foundation to which she responded in the affirmative.

However, it was observed by the counsel that out of $300,000 generated by the foundation, only $25,000 was spent in the name of a child. On whether the foundation was registered, she said she would not know, as she was not in town; adding that their accounts were not audited.

Mrs. Njie testified that the first inaugural meeting of the board was held on the 16 July, 2015, which she attended, noting that she usually sent the report to the board via email and that the signature in the constitution was not hers but rather someone signed on her behalf. She said she only saw her name when the constitution was given to her.

Documents produced by the witness including her acceptance letter for the position of executive director of the foundation were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Next to testify was Mariama Ceesay-Mboob, principal registrar of the High Court. She was summoned to produce two High Court case files involving the late Baba Jobe and Ansoumana Jammeh respectively.

According to her, on the 11th of October, 2003, a case was brought against the late Baba Jobe, Babucarr Kanteh and Youth Development Enterprise which was a criminal case, further stating that she had two affidavits of service and warrant to forfeit property to the Sheriff of the High Court. She told the commission that she also had the judge’s proceedings.

She revealed to the commission that the late Mr. Jobe was convicted in 2005 and was also liable to pay Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) the sum of D24,000,000 in default his properties would to be forfeited to the state.

At this juncture, commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda asked her to find out whether there was an appeal in this case. In the case of Ansoumana Jammeh, she testified that it was a criminal matter which involved the state versus Ansoumana Jammeh, Sanna Bah and Assan Badjie. She said she also had the proceedings and judgement and that they were sentence with a fine.

According to her, it was also ordered by the judge for the forfeiture of property located at Bijilo, Coastal Layout and a vehicle purchased over D1, 000,000 and he was further ordered to pay to the state the sum of D24, 000,000 within a period of 36 months starting from the date of judgement.

Mrs. Mboob is also expected to find out whether there was execution in Ansoumana Jammeh’s case. She finally told the commission that CONAPRO was also introduced in the country by Mr. Jammeh and it was through that the Animal Feed was established. Documents relating to the two files were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Bull Dibba, permanent secretary, Ministry of the Interior, appeared in connection to citizenship programme and told the commission that he heard about the said programme, and was informed that it was a capital investment programme. He said he became aware of this programme in May, 2017 through a private citizen. He said he received an email from the private citizen with an attachment of Hong Kong Visa hand book and a capital investment.

He said he also received a form signed by the former director general of Immigration, presided over by Pa Mboob on behalf of the director. He said there was no indication as to who published the said hand book.

According to him, the hand book was about application for entrance programmes and so on; adding that he later forwarded the said email to the former Interior minister, Mai Ahmed Fatty, as he thought the email was more of intelligence issue and he informed the director of the National Intelligence Agency, now SIS to make findings about the sender and to interrogate him.

He said he did not get any feedback from the director of the intelligence service but was later told by the immigration department that the process was going on since Jawara’s time.

Mr. Dibba testified that he prepared a closed file which showed that an agreement was made between Mainland China and the Ministry of the Interior for ID programmes.

Documents produced by the witness in connection to citizenship programme were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Hearing continues today.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 30 Jan 2018 : 13:43:41
Ex-President Jammeh asked for $10M to award contract

the Point: Tuesday, January 30, 2018



Njogu Bah reveals to Janneh Commission
http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/ex-president-jammeh-asked-for-10m-to-award-contract

Dr. Njogu Bah, former secretary general, head of the civil service, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that Ex-President Jammeh asked for $10,000,000 to award a contract to MGI Telecom Company.

He reappeared in connection to Gamtel gateway contracts, and continuing with his testimony, Counsel Bensouda asked him to confirm his signature on some of the payments from the Gamtel gateway account in Central Bank.

On signing an agreement for the management of the gateway, he confirmed that he signed the contract between Tell and Gamtel for the management of the international gateway. He added that they had a meeting with Ali Charara and the former president instructed him to sign the contract, further stating that he could not remember who was managing the gateway prior to Tell Company.

According to him, during their meeting, Mr. Charara was together with a man who was based in France; adding that the time Spectrum was signing the contract, he was then a junior officer at the office of the former president.

On how Mr. Charara met the former president, he said Mr. Muhammed Bazzi introduced him to the former president and the former president told him that the contract was a done deal; adding that he did not receive incentive for signing the contract. He also testified that there was at some point a problem between the former president and Mr. Charara.

According to him, the former president was presented with a brand new Range Rover by Mr. Charara when Tell Company was operating, noting that in 2013 they had Permanent Secretaries retreat at Kanilai and he was approached by the managing director of Gamtel, Bakary Sanyang, who informed him that there were people (MGI) that expressed interest for managing the Gamtel gateway but he responded to him that the gateway was already contracted to Tell.

However, Sanyang told him he had to look at the best company but he (Bah) told him to write to the former president for request, which he did before they might think that he was not interested and was blocking them. The former president was interested in what they could offer, he said.

The former secretary general revealed that soon after he was relieved of his duties, he heard that a contract was signed with MGI and the said contract was signed by the former managing director of Gamtel in Switzerland; adding that it was alleged that Saul Badjie and Mr. Sanyang benefited from this contract.

According to the former civil service boss, the former president instructed him to ask MGI whether they could offer to him (Jammeh) the sum of $10,000,000 when MGI intended to offer $2,000,000 which the former president was reluctant to accept. He said the $10,000,000 was not for Gamcel.

On the purchase of pickups by the former president, he confirmed that the former head of state bought 20 of them to the tune of $25,000,000 from the United States; further stating that he did not witness the delivery of the cars. He said the scholarships awarded to American ladies to pursue university courses were those who participated in the Miss Black Beauty Pageant in The Gambia.

He said they had series of applications from Gambian students for sponsorship but the former president opted to sponsor those American girls instead. He said his signature on directives for the disbursement of funds from the Gamtel gateway account was because he had no choice but to comply.

Documents authorised by the witness for the disbursement of funds from the said account at the central bank were admitted in evidence.

Alagie Abdoulie Kebbeh, a telecom engineer and consultant who was also a member of the taskforce appointed by the former president on Gamtel/Gamcel, yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission in connection to Gamtel gateway contracts.

Testifying before the commission, he said prior to becoming a consultant, he worked in the public service from 1968-1995; adding that he was appointed to be a member of the taskforce to prepare a report on the findings of Gamtel gateway and Bakary Njie was the chairman of the said taskforce.

He told the commission that he had the report on the taskforce covering 2006-2016 with regard to the management of the international gateway; adding that during the course of their investigations, they invited the chairman of MGI and they also dealt with financial matters relating to the office of the former president which was also compiled in the report.

The ICT final report of 2017 prepared by the taskforce was tendered and admitted as exhibit. When asked by counsel to explain from their report the sum of $449,891,688 paid from the proceeds of Gamtel International Gateway in 2006, out of which Gamtel received only the sum of $77,859.40, he said they knew all this during their findings through MGI report and Central Bank records as well.

According to him, MGI was not paying tax at the time, despite the sum of $66,340,347 they generated as their net profits as indicated in their report, noting that the revenue they generated in 2006 amounted to $144,000,000.

Mr. Kebbeh disclosed that MGI was also involved in projects which were also captured in their report and outlined the various projects to the commission such as e-government, fraud protection, roaming, Gamtel Billing System and Intelligence Management Centre among others. He said the taskforce report also made analyses of the MGI activities as well as their financial transactions.

According to the telecom engineer, the revenue from the gateway was just applied but there was no record to that effect, noting that only the former MD, Bakary Njie, could be in a better position to explain.

The witness claimed that MGI was directly dealing with the former president and neither the management of Gamtel/Gamcel knew anything about MGI and both companies did not have the record of MGI contract agreement. He disclosed that the cost of gateway switches of the first project was over $3,000,000.

According to him, Gamtel/Gamcel did not have documentation on the switches; adding that they did not know how the billing platform was procured and they spent over $11,000,000 for the installation of the billing system and no tender process was found.

The consultant, however, told the commission that he could not tell how much money from the gateway was generated. He said MGI was the only company involved in the installations of some of their gargets and the local GSM operators were losing revenue; adding the management and staff of Gamtel/ Gamcel were not even allowed to have access to the switches.

Mr. Kebbeh further told the commission that while executing their duties, they requested MGI to furnish them with a breakdown of expenses and it was discovered that from June, 2014, to December, 2016, MGI deducted the sum of $24 million which was on a monthly payment of $800,000 which they claimed was for services.

According to him, there were two MGIs and the first one which was also in charge with the management of Gamtel gateway was incorporated in Switzerland, while the one registered in The Gambia, Multimedia Gateway Incorporation (MGI), was in charge of the maintenance of the Gamtel Gateway.

He further revealed that there was a contract between Gamtel and the National Assembly but Gamtel subcontracted the multimedia company for the installations of gargets at the National Assembly.

Documents relating to the contracts and gateway traffic were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Earlier, Cherno Camara, senior manager, Commercial at Gamtel, testified in relation to Gamtel Gateway contracts. He said he served in the said portfolio for 2 years and was also the manager settlement.

According to him, their department was responsible for the management of the international gateway before contracted to foreign companies or operators. Upon perusal of documents shown to him by the counsel, he acknowledged that most of the documents were from their department.

On how they accessed traffic, he said they were given access to a billing platform by Global Voice so as to ascertain as to how much Gamtel was generating from the gateway, stating that they were able to verify information given to them.

On the operation of System 1, he said their responsibility was to provide daily statistic to the manager, further stating that they did not calculate how much Gamtel should be paid neither did they have access as to how much Gamtel should be paid.

However, he said when Tell was contracted with the management of the gateway, they had access to the billing platform, but proceeds received were transferred to the Central Bank but now Gamtel has taken over the management of the gateway.

Hearing continues today.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 25 Jan 2018 : 20:58:54
“Regularisation of Gamtel/Gamcel Was Triggered By PAC/PEC,” Gamtel Official
Foroyaa: January 25, 2018

By Mamadou Dem

Mr. Sarjo Ceesay, Director of Corporate Affairs and Company secretary of GAMTEL, has revealed that the regularisation of the Company was triggered by the PAC / PEC of the National Assembly.

Ceesay said this while appearing before the ‘Janneh’ Commission yesterday, 24th January 2018.

Ceesay was summoned to produce statutory documents for Gamtel / Gamcel. He said Gamtel was incorporated in 1984 but was not in possession of the Certificate of Incorporation, but was in possession of the Memorandum and Articles of Association; that the Memorandum and Article of Association was amended twice, further disclosing that the first amendment was done in 2007 while the second one was done in 2014, when the Spectrum contract was terminated.

According to him, there was an instruction by the former president to regularise the status of Gamtel/ Gamcel; that he could not trace the original copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association because the former Company secretary died and he did not know where to get the originals.

Documents relating to the Memorandum and Articles and Memorandum of Association, as well as a letter from the office of the former president to regularise the status of Gamtel / Gamcel were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Mr. Ceesay further revealed to the Commission that the regularisation of Gamtel / Gamcel was triggered by the PAC / PEC of the National Assembly when they presented a report on Gamtel/Gamcel; that Gamcel was incorporated on the 17th of November 2000, and the General Manager owned 1% while 99% shares was for the Company.

The Corporate Affairs Director further stated that there were amendments when Spectrum came in 2000 and 2014. Documents relating to Gamtel/Gamcel partnership with Spectrum, a letter and other certificates were admitted as exhibits.

Ceesay testified that when they were asked to regularise the status of Gamtel, they were asked to look for partnership and as a result, they engaged the Gambia Ports Authority.

Next to testify was Mr. Ousman Jammeh, former Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service. Jammeh told the ‘Janneh’ Commission that Ex-President Yahya Jammeh felt that nobody could do better than him.

He was reappearing in relation to Gamtel/Gamcel and Spectrum sale of shares. Jammeh said from March 2007 to May, 2008, he was the Secretary General; that he served in the said portfolio from May 2011, to December 2011; that he was present when the so-called investors made their presentation to the former president; that Spectrum officials heard that Gamtel was among the best Companies in Africa and this was the reason they came to invest; that the first time he met them was at the office of the former president and was told how to improve the performance of Gamtel; that at the time of their presentation to the former president, Mr. Bazzi was present but he (the witness) was just watching; that Spectrum officials told them that they would take over the management of Gamtel.

The former Secretary General revealed that they signed a contract but there was no formal contract document presented before him as the Secretary General neither did he see a copy of the contract prior to the signing ceremony. He said the presentation indicated their intention to invest in Gamtel; that he advised the former president on the said contract with Spectrum and the former president must have told the investors to go ahead with the signing of the contract.

He alleged that the former president was not fair to him, further noting that the signing ceremony was held at the office of the finance minister; that he made some efforts to ensure that the contract would go through the right channel and Spectrum was supposed to present a financial performance of their Company to reflect on the contract document.

Mr. Jammeh confirmed to the Commission that it was correct that neither the Ministry of Finance, nor Communication or the Attorney General’s Chambers, were privy to the Spectrum contract for managing the Gamtel Gateway project; that the normal channel was not followed and the management of Gamtel were not put in the picture as well.

Responding on when exactly the investors started visiting the former president, he said that it had always been the practice prior to him becoming Secretary General but could not pinpoint the exact year it started; that the office of the former president was very busy and there was transfer of portfolio to his office.

The president, he said, was somebody who felt that nobody could do better than him; that he (witness) did not play any part in the termination of Spectrum contract neither did he has any idea of the outstanding money for the sale of Gamtel / Gamcel shares; that he was not aware that the outstanding sum was paid to the Central Bank of the Gambia.

Earlier, Mr. Fadi Mazegi, Managing Director of the Euro Africa Group, reappeared before the Commission in connection to Gam Petroleum and Mariam Yahya Jammeh Family Trust Account.

Prior to his testimony, Commission counsel Amie Bensouda, told him that he submitted a flash drive containing accounting software and accounting records for Gam Petroleum which was also submitted to Excel and was required to produce all accounting information in respect of the said Company and the Euro Africa Group respectively.

At this juncture, the flash drive was tendered by Counsel but the Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Sourahata Janneh, indicated that the content of the flash drive should be printed. The witness was also urged to produce the information showing payments from the accounting system.

According to Mr. Mazegi, contracts were awarded to Global Trading Group but there were subcontracts to Global Power System (GPS) and over $7,000,000 were put into a Trust Bank account opened by Global Trading; that the contractor was paid the sum of €1,840,600 which was to be paid into a foreign bank.

He said it was his choice to subcontract the works and he believed that the total amount was paid. At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that the Company was liable to pay taxes and other liabilities for their staff.

In response, Mazegi promised to find out and confirm to the Commission whether taxes were paid in relation to this contract as well as income tax returns.

With regard to the MYJ Account, he testified that Mr. Ahmed Hodrog is an in-law to Muhammed Bazzi and was appointed on a six–month probation as General Manager for Euro Africa Group because he (Mazegi) was busy in another project in Benin and did not have time for The Gambia; that when he came back, he found that Mr. Hodrog was working for Kanilai International Group.

On whether Mr. Hodrog was receiving payments, he responded in the affirmative; that there was an overdraft of $4,000 from MYJ account and over $4,000,000 was paid in cash into this account at Trust Bank. However Mazegi responded that he was not aware of these payments but Hodrog was reporting to Mr. Bazzi and was of the belief that Hodrog is in the United States.

Mazegi further responded that deposits into the MYJ account were not linked to Euro Africa Group. A letter authored by former Secretary General Dr. Njogu Bah, dated 12 January 2012, to Global Trading in connection to the purchase of State Aircraft was tendered and admitted as exhibit.

He testified that it was not to his knowledge whether his Company contributed to this account; that he could not recall whether they made payments to the account and that they did not have any relation with Kanilai International Group (KGI). He said he believed Mr. Hodrog was brought into the country by Bazzi and he used to go to state house to meet the former president.

At this juncture, Counsel reminded the witness that he was to produce contract documents for Global Trading in connection to construction and engineering works made by the Company as well as hard copies of accounting information from the system he presented in a flash drive.

Legal Practitioner and current Director General of Gambia Maritime Administration, Mustapha Marong, who was also one time Attorney General at the Ministry of Justice from 1995-1996, testified in connection to a loan amounting to $35,000,000 taken by the AFPRC from the Republic of China on Taiwan. According to Mr. Marong, the spokesperson of the junta at the time Ebou Jallow, brought out some documents to him to raise a loan and expressed the urgency of the documents; that he told him he (Jallow) was travelling to Taiwan that evening in respect of the loan.

He said he told Jallow that he was going to discuss it with the Solicitor General but the Captain intimated to him that there was no time and the former president was anxious; that there was a loan from ROC but Jallow did not tell him the amount; that he therefore did not have time to read the documents but signed them.

Marong informed Commissioners that he was not part of the team from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) that negotiated the loan but was told that Ebou Jallow stole some money; that the loan was never an agenda for the Council. He said no one can tell from the Ministry of Justice as to how this money was spent.

Hearing continues today at Djembe Hotel.
Momodou Posted - 25 Jan 2018 : 13:07:13
Ex- President Jammeh feels nobody can do better than he can -Former SG Ousman Jammeh Testifies

The Point: Thursday, January 25, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/ex-president-jammeh-feels-nobody-can-do-better-than-he-can-former-sg-ousman-jammeh-testifies

Ousman Jammeh, former secretary general and head of the Civil Service, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that Ex-President Yahya Jammeh felt that nobody could do better than he could.


He reappeared in relation to Gamtel/Gamcel and Spectrum sale of shares. He said from March 2007, to May, 2008, he was the secretary general. He served in the said portfolio from May, 2011, to December, 2011, as well.

Mr. Jammeh, however, testified that he was present when the so-called investors made their presentation to the former president. He said Spectrum heard that Gamtel was among the best companies in Africa and this was the reason they came to invest.

He testified that the first time he met them was at the office of the former president and was told how to improve the performance of Gamtel; adding that at the time of their presentation to the former president, Mr. Bazzi was present but he (the witness) was just watching. He added that Spectrum officials told them that they would take over the management of Gamtel.

The former secretary general revealed that they signed a contract but there was no formal contract document presented before him as the secretary general neither did he see a copy of the contract prior to the signing ceremony. The presentation indicated their intention to invest in Gamtel, he stated. He said he advised the former president on the said contract with Spectrum and the former president must have told the investors to go ahead with the signing of the contract.

He alleged that the former president was not fair to him, further noting that the signing ceremony was held at the office of the finance minister and he made some efforts to ensure that the contract would go through the right channel and Spectrum was supposed to present financial performance and also to reflect on the contract document.

Mr. Jammeh confirmed to the commission that it was correct that neither the Ministry of Finance, nor Communication or the Attorney General Chambers were privy to the Spectrum contracts for managing the Gamtel gateway; adding that the normal channel was not followed and the management of Gamtel were not put in the picture as well.

Responding on when exactly investors started visiting the former president, he said it had always been the practice prior to him becoming secretary general but could not pinpoint the exact year it started. He said the office of the former president was very busy and there was transfer of portfolios to his office.

The president, he said, was somebody who felt that nobody could do better than he could; adding that he (witness) did not play any part in the termination of Spectrum neither did he have any idea of the outstanding money for the sale shares in Gamtel/Gamcel.

He finally testified that he was not aware that the outstanding sum was paid to the Central Bank of The Gambia.

Fadi Mazegi, managing director, Euro Africa Group, reappeared before the Janneh Commission in connection to Gam Petroleum and Mariam Yahya Jammeh Family Trust Account.

Prior to his testimony, the commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, told him that he submitted flash drive containing accounting software and accounting records for Gam Petroleum which was also submitted to Excel. However, he was required to produce all accounting information in respect of the said company and Euro Africa Group respectively.

At this juncture, the flash drive was tendered by counsel but the chairman of the commission, Sourahata Janneh, indicated that the content of the flash drive should be printed. However, the witness was also urged to produce the information showing payments from the accounting system.

According to Mr. Mazegi, contracts were awarded to Global Trading Group but there were subcontracts to Global Power System (GPS) and over $7,000,000 were put into a Trust Bank account opened by Global Trading. He added that the contractor was paid the sum of €1,840,600 which was to be paid into a foreign bank.

He said it was his choice to subcontract the works and he believed that the total amount was paid. At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that the company was liable to pay taxes and other liabilities for their staff.

In response, Mazegi promised to find out and confirm to the commission whether taxes were paid in relation to this contract as well as income tax returns.

With regard to the MYJ Account, he testified that Mr. Ahemed Hodrog is an in-law to business mogul, Muhammed Bazzi, and was appointed on six–month probation as general manager for Euro Africa Group because he (Mazegi) was busy in another project in Benin and did not have time for The Gambia. He said when he came back, he found that Mr. Hodrog was working for Kanilai International Group.

On whether Mr. Hodrog was receiving payments, he responded in the affirmative. He said there was an overdraft of $4,000 from MYJ account and over $4,000,000 was paid in cash into this account at Trust Bank. However, Mazegi responded that he was not aware of these payments but Hodrog was reporting to Mr. Bazzi and he was of the belief that Hodrog is in the United States.

Mr. Mazegi further responded that deposits into the MYJ account were not linked to Euro Africa Group. A letter authored by former secretary general, Dr. Njogu Bah, dated 12 January, 2012, to Global Trading in connection to the purchase of State Aircraft was tendered and admitted as exhibit.

He testified that it was not to his knowledge whether his company contributed to this account; adding that he could not recall whether they made a payment to the account and that they did not have any relation with Kanilai International Group (KGI). He said he believed Mr. Hodrog was brought into the country by Bazzi and he used to go to state house to meet the former president.

At this juncture, counsel reminded the witness that he was to produce contract documents for Global Trading in connection to constructions, engineering made by the company as well as hard copies of accounting information from the system he presented in a flash drive.

Sarjo Ceesay, director of Corporate Affairs and company secretary at Gamtel, was required to produce the statutory documents for Gamtel/Gamcel. He said Gamtel was incorporated in 1984 but was not in possession of the Certificate of Incorporation but was in possession of the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

He further testified that the Memorandum of Article of Association was amended twice, further stating that the first amendment was in 2007 while the second one was in 2014 when Spectrum contract was terminated.

According to him, there was an instruction by the former president to regularise the status of Gamtel/ Gamcel, noting that he could not trace out the original copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association because the former company secretary died and did not know where to get the originals.

Documents relating to the Memorandum and Articles and Memorandum of Association, as well as a letter from the office of the former president to regularise the status of Gamtel/Gamcel were all tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Mr. Ceesay further revealed to the commission that the regularisation of Gamtel/Gamcelwas triggered by PAC/PEC of the National Assembly when they presented a report on Gamtel/Gamcel; adding that Gamcel was incorporated on the 17th of November, 2000, and the general manager owned 1% while 99% share was for the company.

The Corporate Affairs director further stated that there were amendments when Spectrum came in 2000 and 2014. Documents relating to Gamtel/Gamcel partnership with Spectrum, a letter and other certificates were admitted as exhibits.

He testified when they were asked to regularise Gamtel status, they were asked to look for partnership, and as a result, they engaged The Gambia Ports Authority.

Legal practitioner and current director general of Gambia Maritime Administration, Mustapha Marrong, who was also onetime attorney general at the Ministry of Justice from 1995-1996, testified in connection to a loan amounting to $35,000,000 taken by the AFPRC from the Republic of China on Taiwan.

According to Mr. Marrong, the spokesperson of the junta at the time, Ebou Jallow, brought out some documents to him to raise a loan and expressed urgency because he told him that he (Jallow) was travelling to Taiwan that evening in respect of the loan.

He said he told Jallow that he was going to discuss it with the solicitor general but Captain Jallow said to him that there was no time and the former president was anxious, and that there was a loan from ROC but Jallow did not tell him the amount. Therefore he did not have time to read the documents but signed, he said.

The legal luminary informed commissioners that he was not part of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) that negotiated the loan but was told that Ebou Jallow stole some money, further stating that the loan was never an agenda for the council. He said no one can tell from the Ministry of Justice as to how this money was spent.

Hearing continues today at Djembe Hotel.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 24 Jan 2018 : 14:38:54
There were so many flaws in the agreement Fatim Badjie Tells Commission

The Point: Wednesday, January 24, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/there-were-so-many-flaws-in-the-agreementfatim-badjie-tells-commission

Fatim Badjie-Sinyang, former Information, Communication and Technology minister, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that there were so many flaws in the Spectrum Gamtel/Gamcel shares agreement.

Mrs. Sinyan, who reappeared in connection to Gamtel/Spectrum gateway contract, informed the commission that she went through the contract documents but the signatures on some of the documents were not hers; adding that she never met Mr. Charara regarding Gamtel/Gamcel gateway contract.

However, she said she was the minister of Information Communication and Technology but was not involved in the sales of Gamtel/Gamcel shares neither did she amend Spectrum contract but signed the termination of the contract.

She confirmed writing a letter to the former president for Spectrum to be investigated on breaches of the contract and a letter was written terminating their contract after investigation was launched by the management of Gamtel/Gamcel, NIA, PURA and the attorney general.

According to her, she did not play any role in the repurchase of Gamtel/Gamcel share neither was she aware of Bazzi’s intention to have 30% share in the national telecom and its subsidiary. She said she did not see the NIA investigation report in collaboration with PURA but the matter was also brought before the cabinet, indicating that Spectrum investment was not in the interest of the country.

Mrs. Sinyan further revealed to the commission that she was asked to sign an agreement for one Emirate Investment Group but she refused to do so without the presence of the solicitor general. She added that she did not see the amount of resources or fund lost in Gamtel/Gamcel as alleged.

She testified that she joined the company in 2008 and there were issues of hiring and firing, further stating that management of Gamtel was asked to take the responsibility whose manpower they possessed.

She testified that there were so many flaws in the Gamtel/Gamcel agreement and this was why she refused to sign, and she left the office because of many reasons. She said the Ministry of Finance represented government’s interest in the shares of Gamtel/Gamcel.

Continuing his testimony in connection to Gamtel gateway and 3M Account, the former Minister of Finance, Musa Balla Gaye, confirmed signing a letter which was shown to him by Counsel Amie Bensouda.

On the contract between Spectrum and Gamtel for the sale of shares, he said he could not remember whether he was involved in the negotiation of the contract, further stating that he left the ministry on the 9 June, 2009.

Mr. Gaye confirmed that they considered a waiver and liabilities on taxes for Mr. Charara because Mr. Charara was going to invest a substantial sum of money in the country. It was put to him that there were letters which were signed by him concerning the waiving on taxes for the said business tycoon which he confirmed to the commission.

According to the former finance minister, he made a recommendation to the former government for duty waiver and after he made the recommendation, it was sent to the Office of the Secretary General.

Another letter was shown to the witness regarding the negotiation of shares bought by Spectrum from Gamtel/Gamcel. In response, he disclosed that there was a directive from the office of the former president concerning the said shares. He added that Mr. Bazzi was a friend to the former president and that he was present during the negotiation for the purchase of sales by Spectrum.

However, he disclosed that Spectrum was operating from the Standard Chartered House where Bazziz’s office was located. He said he could recollect for the fact that the attorney for Spectrum intimated that he was going to review the contract prior to signing.

At this juncture, correspondences between the witness, Mr. Muhammed Bazzi and Ali Charara including waiver on taxes and liabilities for Gamtel/Gamcel were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Mr. Gaye further told the commission that an account was opened at the Central Bank for monies paid by Spectrum, noting that the Directorate of National Treasury wrote to CBG for the opening of the said account and instructed that the signatories to the account would come later.

However, Counsel Bensouda told him that he authorised payments from the account without having the signatories. Mr. Gaye responded that the said funds were governed by financial instructions, and that the budget vote controller was used in the national budget controller and there was nothing stopping the minister from acting in accordance with the act, and this was among the reasons why he became a signatory to the account.

It was put to him by the counsel that all revenues form part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and he responded that the revenues accrued by Gamtel/Gamcel were windfall revenues and these were physical practices.

However, he acknowledged that there is no provision in the laws for windfall revenue but there is a provision in the law empowering the minister to open an account. He confirmed that the sum of $19,000,000 was paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund as a result of IMF intervention. He added that the sum of $2,700,000 was paid at the Central Bank but the bank could not trace out the authority.

At this juncture, the witness told the commission that as the former minister, he read so many budget speeches to the National Assembly during which he outlined the provisions in the 1997 Constitution restricting the minister with the management of the ministry and raised them extensively.

He said all the withdrawals he authorised were directives from the office of the former president including the transfer of $2.2 million to the Gambian Embassy in U.S.A. for the purchase of school buses and other vehicles.

According to him, being the minister at the time, he never asked the purpose of all the funds he was instructed by the office of the former president to withdraw, which he said was the order of the day, and there was no budget for the purchase of the said buses.

Mr. Gaye testified that if the Public Finance Act of 2014 was strictly followed, then all this economic mess would not have happened. He said during his tenure as minister, the economy was booming and was on the fast track.

Documents for the purchase of school buses were tendered and admitted.

He further disclosed that he did not receive any statement indicating how the sum of $9,000,000 was spent by the Gambian Embassy in Washington DC. He was then told by counsel that with his calibre, he accepted instructions without asking questions, and he responded in the positive.

Mr. Gaye pointed out to the commission that some of the funds transferred to certain people were serving the interest of the former president and not the country.

It was put to him that being the Minister of Finance, how could he act on instruction to disburse monies, and was asked whether this was in line with standard practice.

In response, he said that there were certain behaviours that became of him, further stating that what he read in the papers really baffled him.

When he was challenged by counsel, he said officials were serving the former president but not Gambians.

He was reminded of a sum of $28,500.000 by Central Bank for an overdraft loan incurred by the bank. He said he did not know the origin of the said money neither did he know how it was disbursed.

Mr. Gaye told the commission that the former government accepted the loan and IMF said that government should pay the said loan, noting that it was financed by excess treasury bills. He disclosed that IMF did not accept the report by the Central Bank and they delegated a South African Audit Firm to embark on a re-audit. He stated that he thought the money was not filtered.

Mr. Ebrima Sallah, managing director, Trust Bank Gambia Ltd., reappeared in connection to accounts submitted before the commission. He said he had twenty accounts with him out of which seven were for Kanilai Family Farms (KFF).

On GLMA account, he said the account was opened in 2010 and the last transaction was 6 October, 2011; adding that the total credit into the account was D12, 054, 386 while the balance was D3, 989 .57 and the signatories were Sulayman Jammeh and Ousman Y. Bojang.

Dwelling on the Kanilai Garage Account, he said it was opened on the 3 September, 2007, and the last transaction was 31 August, 2010, further stating that the total debit from this account was D3, 450 and the total credit was D3, 006,497.05 and the balance in the account was D3074.

Mr. Ousman Y. Bojang and YankubaJatta were signatories to the account, he told the commission.

The next account he revealed was the Kanilai Alternative Medical Clinic Account and was opened on the 1 of February, 2012, further stating that the last transaction on this account was on the 5th of April, 2017, subject to frozen order. The total balance in this account was D2, 750, he testified.

He added that the total credit that went into the account was D482, 550.64, and the signatories were Dr. Tamsir Mbowe one Nyima Badjie and Ansouuman Njie.

The next account, he said, was Kanilai Institute of Technology and the account was opened on the 29 July, 2010, and there were various signatories, namely Dr. Njogu Bah, Ebrima Camara, Nuha Touray, Momodou Sabally and Lamin Nyabally. According to him, this account was an investment account.

The Kanilai Woni Account, according to him, was opened on the 15th of December, 2003, and the former president was the sole signatory to the account, and the total credit was over D500, 000, while the total debit was D50, 000.

Testifying on Kanilai Bakery Account, he said the account was opened on the 30th of August, 2010, and the signatory to the account was the former president and Ahemed Hodrog. The last transaction from this account, he said, was on the 11 August, 2010, with a total credit of D10, 000, 000 while there was a debit of over D54, 000. There was zero balance in the account, he revealed.

He further disclosed that the Central Abattoir Account was opened on the 10th of March, 2010, and the signatories were Yankuba Jatta and Pierre Tamba, further stating that the beneficiaries to this account were Awa Jaiteh, Kebba T. Sanyang among others. He said that the last transaction was 24 May, 2017, with a total debit of D110, 000 while the total credit was over D10, 000,000.

At this juncture, bunch of documents relating to the said accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits. He also dwelled on other Kanilai International Group accounts (KGI), and documents of these accounts were also admitted as exhibits.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 23 Jan 2018 : 12:11:18
Green Industries were operated from public funds says Ambassador Teneng Mba Jaiteh

The poiunt: Tuesday, January 23, 2018



TenengMba Jaiteh, former Energy minister and ambassador to Brussels, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that Green Industries were operated from public funds.


Mrs. Jaiteh was testifying in connection to Gamtel gateway contracts.

During her testimony, she informed the commission that she is Gambia’s ambassador to Brussels, Belgium, but prior to that, she served in various capacities in the former government, starting as assistant secretary, Ministry of Works and also acted as deputy permanent secretary, personnel management office (PMO), secretary to Cabinet as well as secretary general.

According to her, she was involved in the termination of contract awarded to Spectrum by the government under the directive of the former president. At this juncture, commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, showed her some letters which she said were signed by her in relation to the termination of Spectrum and the purchase of Gamtel/ Gamcel shares. The said letters were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Further testifying, she told the commission that on the 28th of October, 2008, the former president instructed the management of Gamtel/Gamcel, PURA, the director general of NIA, secretary of state, Ministry of Finance, Communication and the attorney general to review the management agreement with Spectrum. She added that the NIA was to come up with a report on the alleged fraud and breaches made by Spectrum because there were allegations that funds were diverted and they were also terminating traffic from Lebanon.

However, she said she did not see the National Intelligence Agency report; adding that the former president said that sales of Gamtel were coming down and senior Gamtel officials were being laid off.

She further testified that Spectrum did not comply with the terms and conditions of the contract, and therefore a criminal investigation was mounted as recommended by the attorney general because the international gateway was taken to Lebanon and an offshore account was opened without authority.

The diplomat disclosed that the former president gave Spectrum officials 72 hours to furnish them with information and Cabinet were briefed on the NIA report during which they cautioned the executive on the breaching of contracts, as it might end up being a court case.

According to her, at the time of signing a contract with Spectrum, Gamtel owned 90% of the company; adding that they were called by the former president to meet System 1 representatives on the 1st of November, 2008. She said the briefing was about the said company. She added that while on the briefing, they were told that System 1 gave technical support to Global Voice and that Spectrum was using switches of Global Voice.

Mrs. Jaiteh informed the commission that they asked System 1 to provide them with documents if they were interested in investing in The Gambia; adding that the former president told them that the draft contract they submitted to him was at variance.

According to Mrs. Jaiteh, she received directives from the former president to write a minute for the purchase of Gamtel/Gamcel shares by Spectrum.

However, she told the commission that she was not privy to that rather she was instructed to write letters in connection to the contract with Spectrum, noting that she was never involved in the negotiation of the contract with Spectrum neither did she deal with Mr. Bazzi .

She said the Gambian side of the contract with Spectrum was signed by the then minister of Justice, adding that the transaction was too much to be handled.

When quizzed by Commissioner Bai Mass Saine as to who represented the Gambia’s interest in the said company (Spectrum), she responded that it was the former Vice President and the former Justice minister.

Mrs. Jaiteh further testified that the representatives of Spectrum were not on the ground for the termination of the contract with Spectrum, further stating that she was never involved in the issue of buying shares.

“I did not see the report of the NIA neither did I follow up,” she told the commission.

At this juncture, instructions issued by the office of the former president to the Ministry of Finance for disbursement of funds from a Central Bank account were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

According to Mrs. Jaiteh, the former president was advised to appoint a minister of Communication and Technology because matters of communication were too technical to them, as they did not have the expertise. She said she confessed to the former president that it was too technical to handle.

She explained that despite being given 24 hours with System 1 contract, they wrote to say that the company would not serve Gambia’s interest; adding that she never spoke with Mr. Charara neither did she meet him.

On other request for payments signed by the witness, she responded that she could not remember exactly what the money was meant for but was of the belief that it had to do with the treatment of HIV/AIDS by the former president.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda told her that the sum of $46,325,000 was paid to AMS Corporation in connection to the acquisition of state aircraft while the sum of $1,000,000 was paid into a CBG account of one Dr. Buba Badjie, who was in Sweden which she said was an instruction from the chief of protocol, Alagie Ousman Ceesay.

She said Mr. Ceesay told her that the purpose of the money was for a poultry project and Mr. Badjie was to provide the equipment for the project but she did not know whether the equipment arrived in The Gambia, neither did she know where the poultry project was located.

On the payment of $250,000 as scholarship payments to medical students in the United States of America, she said instructions were given to transfer the said sum to the embassy of The Gambia in Washington DC and the instruction for the disbursement of the funds was signed by Dr. Njogu Bah.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to her that those who received the scholarship never sounded as Gambians but the witness responded that it was the first time she was seeing the document neither did the transaction pass through her.

When asked about the payment of $32,400,000 to the former president, she confirmed that it should have been paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund; adding that this payment was out of the ordinary.

It was further put to her by the counsel that there was an instruction to transfer monies from the Central Bank to Trust Bank in the name of Green Industry to which she said was signed by her and Njogu Bah.

According to her, the said industry was setup by the former president and one Sheriff Nyang and they were partnering with some Chinese but it was an unorganised enterprise. The CEO of GIPZA went to her office and explained that Green industry owed them a lot of money, she narrated. She said that it was operated from public funds and the purpose was to create employment and for development and they were making uniforms, clothes, baby diapers, toilet papers among other things.

The witness alleged that when the former president was unable to handle the company, he dumped it on them but they persuaded him for a business plan to be made for the operation of the company.

However, counsel Bensouda put it to her that the office of the former president was not a business entity and there were institutions that were in charge of businesses, further stating that they tried very hard to discourage the former president from being involved into business, and that it was difficult to deal with him.

At this juncture, Commissioner Saine interjected and told the witness that public administration was different from business administration, and notwithstanding, the former president appointed himself as chief investment officer and was making numerous financial decisions.

In response, the witness acknowledged that the office of the former president is a government office and not a business entity but the former president was of the belief that anything that was not operated from his office was not efficient.

Mrs. Jaiteh, however, testified that not all that was operated at that level was indeed efficient, noting that they succeeded in some areas while they failed in others.

She finally told the commission that due to Gamtel issue, she was removed from the office of the former president.

Next to testify was Fatim Badjie, former minister of Communication and Health respectively, who was summoned in connection to Gamtel and Spectrum gateway contract.

She said it was correct that she was a public servant and had served as a minister of the said portfolios.

At this juncture, the counsel asked her to look at Spectrum/Gamtel gateway contract as well as some letters, and she confirmed signing one of them. However, the witness told the commission that she did not see some of the documents before which triggered the counsel to apply for her testimony to be adjourned, so as to give her the opportunity to photocopy and refresh her memory on the documents.

Next to testify was the managing director of Standard Charted Bank, Olukorede Adenowo, who reappeared in connection to the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel and Premier Agro Oil Company.

He told the commission that he had both letters of Kairaba Beach Hotel and the bank. He said following an agreement and the payment of $10,000,000, there was a subsequent payment of $2,600,000 paid into the hotel’s account. However, he said he could not find any document relating to the facility extended to the hotel.

According to him, the hotel instructed the bank to pay $7,000,000 to Trust Bank foreign account. At that point, the counsel tasked him to find out the original owners and the previous management as well as the current one. The witness revealed that Millennium Trading was managing the hotel before it was sold to M.A. Kharafi.

Documents relating to the purchase price of the hotel by M.A. Kharafi, instructions of payments by Kharafi and other related correspondences were admitted as exhibits.

Finally Mr. Adenowo disclosed to the commission that they never had anything like collateral security for Agro Oil Company other than the venture agreement which he had submitted to the commission.

Mr. Musa Balla Gaye, former minister of Finance, testified in connection to Gamtel gateway after he gave a synopsis of his services in government way back from 1970.

He said the former government had never discussed the sale of 50% share of Gamtel/Gamcel to Spectrum; adding that there was no due process in the sale of Gamtel/ Gamcel shares as people like the attorney general were never involved in the negotiation, as the president constituted his own negotiation team.

The former Finance minister informed the commission that he was not aware of the evaluation of Gamtel/Gamcel by the former government, as the Finance minister at the time. He added that he could not give evidence on the shareholders of Gamtel/Gamcel because they were only summoned and instructed to execute orders given by the former president.

He, however, testified that the normal practice in government was that government shares were held in the name of the permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance but was not sure whether due process was followed. He said on one-on-one basis, he advised the former president and he heeded to his advice but not at Cabinet level.

While responding to Commissioner Saine, he said: “As minister of Finance, I was empowered to advise the president, but in the case of Spectrum, the former president already took his decision.”

“I don’t think it was prudent after the president took a decision. I told him to change his decision despite being empowered by the National Assembly. The former president was doing things in his own way,” said Gaye.

He further said that notwithstanding, it did not mean that whatever the former president did was okay with him, but after he came up with a decision, he would not come out plainly and challenge it. However, Counsel Bensouda told him that it was his responsibility to advise the president when he was wrong in some of his decisions.

Hearing continues today.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 21 Jan 2018 : 18:12:15
Counsel Bensouda objects to witness’s evidence


The Point: Friday, January 19, 2018


http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/counsel-bensouda-objects-to-witnesss-evidence-1

Counsel Amie Bensouda yesterday objected to the evidence given by Mr. Bazzi’z witness, Muhammed Muctar as he testified before the Janneh Commission.

Muhammed Mactar is lawyer for both Spectrum and Tell companies.

Mr. Mactar informed the commission that he is based in Lebanon and has degrees in law; adding that he has been practising for 42 years.

However, before he began his testimony, Commission Counsel, Amie Bensouda, objected on the grounds that her understanding was that the witness was to testify on behalf of Bazzi but not Tell. The witness responded that he is the legal officer for both Tell and Spectrum and therefore he represents them.

According to Mr. Mactar, he was contacted by Mr. Ali Yusuf Sarari to establish payments made on behalf of Tell and Spectrum to Mr. Bazzi’s account in Lebanon. He added that in 2007, he drafted the contract for Spectrum.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda interjected and told the commission that the foundation of the witness was hearsay and such evidence do not apply before the commission, further stating that what the witness said was what Mr. Sarari had told him and that the proper witness to appear was Mr. Sarari. She then objected to the witness given evidence, considering the gravity of the issue at hand, the witness should not be allowed to continue.

She further submitted that Mr. Bazzi, being a close associate of the former president, is already at the Court of Appeal challenging the interim order of the commission and her objection was also at liberty to be challenged. However, Bazzi’s attorney, Victoria Andrews, said it was the witness who should raise privilege but not counsel of the commission.

Chairman of the commission, Sourahata Janneh, asked the witness why he was before the commission, and the witness responded that he was representing Tell and that he was giving evidence on what Mr. Sarari told him in relation to Tell Company.

According to Mr. Mactar, his evidence was relevant, and the story of Tell and Spectrum should be heard and due process must be followed, as the commission is on fact finding and not a tribunal. He said he came to assist the commission.

At this juncture, the chairman of the commission asked him whether he was given any Power of Attorney by Tell. The witness said he was not in possession of any Power of Attorney from Tell at the time. He added that he is not a board member neither the management of Tell. He further told the commission that he is not qualified as a barrister at law.

The chairman further explained to him that in The Gambia there is a common law practice and that if he does not have a Power of Attorney, as well as if he is not a member of the board of Tell or the management, he could not be heard as a witness. He also made it clear to him that if he is not qualified as a barrister in any common law country, he could not practise as a lawyer in The Gambia.

Counsel Bensouda said they would like Mr. Sararito appear before the commission.

Delivering the ruling, the chairman ruled that Mr. Mactar was a competent witness as all those who were named as close associates of the former president should call witnesses. However, such witnesses would not be allowed without showing Power of Attorney. If the witness was giving evidence on hearsay evidence, that would not be allowed and will automatically be rejected, said the chairman.

Continuing, Mr. Mactar told the commission that the chairman of Tell is one Francisco Rusio, further stating that Mr. Bazzi was not a shareholder of Tell, neither was he the director, and that he has never been the director before.

He said he knows that Mr. Bazzi was the Consul General of The Gambia in Lebanon, further stating that the relation between Mr. Bazzi and Sarari was strained; adding that during the discussion between The Gambia government and Tell, he came to The Gambia but on a very short notice, but could not remember anything like loan in the discussions and had it been such was brought to his attention, he would have advised otherwise.

According to him, he was instructed by Spectrum to sign an agreement between The Gambia government and the company which he said was signed in The Gambia with the secretary of State but could not remember when this contract was terminated.

At this juncture, the legal adviser of the said companies was shown some agreements and asked to confirm whether the one he signed was among them. However, after looking at them, he confirmed that the one he signed was not among them; adding that he used a flash drive to make some amendments on the agreement he drafted for Tell.

He finally testified that upon signing the agreement, it was agreed that there should be exchange of correspondences.

Earlier, business tycoon, Mr. Muhammed Bazzi, reappeared before the commission to give evidence in relation to Spectrum International Investment Holding and Tell Management of the Gamtel gateway.

During his testimony, he informed the commission that he knows the said company as well as Ali Sarari; adding that he did not represent Spectrum in The Gambia in the acquisition of the 50% share in Gamtel neither did he have interest in the company. He acknowledged that he only brought investors to invest in the country as he has his own company.

Further testifying, the Lebanese-Belgian said he introduced the company to the former president and the negotiation for the contract but could not remember meeting the former Finance minister, Musa Balla Gaye, or Neneh Macdouall-Gaye regarding matters relating to the company.

According to Bazzi, Spectrum and a Dutch company also started investing in Gamtel but five months later, they were kicked out and their contract was terminated and he did not know the reason.

On the evaluation of Gamtel, he said it was valued at $70,000,000 which he said came from the side of the government and the agreement was between Mr. Sarari, the former president and some ministers.

However, he said out of this amount, Spectrum only paid the sum of $32,000,000 and the company was locally looking for money to start the business with Gamtel.

The businessman said Mr. Sarari paid $35,000,000 to CBG but counsel put it to him that records showed that Mr. Sarari paid $32, 400,000 to CBG as part of the evaluation agreement to Gamtel. On the termination of Spectrum after looking at a letter, he said he had not seen the termination letter because there were breaches and fraudulent activities by the company.

Mr. Bazzi intimated that he did not play any role in Tell but he only negotiated the agreement with the former president and he knew nothing about the termination of Spectrum contract, neither did he have any idea about Oratus Company.

According to him, two years later, he facilitated for Spectrum to come back but he did not have any shares in the company; adding that he knows the head of Oratus whom he said may be a relative of Mr. Sarari.

At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda put it to him that he gave the former president an equivalent sum of money which was given to him by Tell, which was paid into the personal account of the former president. Bazzi, in response, revealed that he was paying $500,000 per month into the said account.

He denied ever serving as an agent or broker for the company but was doing a favour for the country and met Mr. Sarari for the first time in The Gambia but did hear about him in Lebanon. When asked by counsel why Tell paid such a significant amount to the former president and that of Bazzi’s account in Lebanon, he said the former president requested for a loan from Mr. Sarari for the sum of $5,000,000 but Mr. Sarari refused on the grounds that he had earlier given a loan of $10,000,000 but he was not refunded.

Mr. Bazzi, however, responded that he did not see any document indicating that a loan was given to the former president by Ali Sarari, but he was told by Sarari himself but Sarari never gave any statements as to how much Oratus and Tell got from the traffic fees. He said Mr. Sarari was claiming for the recovery of $30,000,000.

Mr. Bazzi testified that it was not his choice to have direct contact with the former president in the smooth running of his business, as he responded to Commissioner Saine.

Mr. Bazzi revealed further that Spectrum officials were detained at NIA and later asked to leave the country on the same day they received the letter as ordered, because of allegations of fraudulent activities.

On the issue of a letter authored by Nuha Touray, former secretary to Cabinet, indicating that government appointed MGI to manage the gateway, Bazzi responded that the operators left the country and there was a belief that he was the only one who knew where they were.

He said he was threatened and had to fly to Lebanon and brought Mr. Sarari to produce the switches and when he got to their country, he told Mr. Sarari that his investment in The Gambia was at jeopardy because of the problem they had in the country, and even had to appeal to Sarari’s family to convince him.

At this juncture, Commissioner Saine asked him to explain the reasons why he was bringing investors into the country; hence he could have done his business without meeting the former president directly. Bazzi responded that it was not his choice to meet the former president and he did not want his company to come down.

Further responding to Commissioner Saine, he said it was necessary to bring in investors for the purpose of his business.

On whether it was a condition on him to do that without which he would encounter difficulties in his business, he responded that it was not for his business but rather it was for Tell.

He was asked whether the payments made to the former president by Tell were necessary. In response, he said that had nothing to do with his business.

Hearing continues on Monday 22 January, 2018.

Author: Dawda Faye
Momodou Posted - 18 Jan 2018 : 12:35:41
No transparency in the handling of funds Says Yankuba Touray

The Point: Thursday, January 18, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/no-transparency-in-the-handling-of-funds-says-yankuba-touray

The former member of the military junta of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC), Yankuba Touray, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that there was no transparency in the handling of funds.


Mr. Touray reappeared to shed more light on loans and grants from the Republic of China on Taiwan and the 3M Account.

Continuing with his testimony, he informed the commission that he was not privy to the delegation that negotiated the loan in Taiwan. However, he said the same delegation negotiated for the loan as well as restoration of diplomatic relation.

When shown a Power of Attorney dated 5 August, 1995, signed by the former president whom he said had the executive power to give Power of Attorney; adding that he could not remember whether the issuance of Power of Attorney to Captain Ebou Jallow was disclosed to AFPRC members.

Mr. Touray told the commission that he was not aware that the minister of Finance went to China for the negotiation of the loan but he was aware that Captain Ebou Jallow led the delegation. He said Council members were not told as to how much they would be given but it was said to be a package.

According to him, he did not know whether the money was a loan or grant neither did he know the exact amount but he got to know about it when it was ratified by the National Assembly.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked him as to how much was spent on the projects he was supervising; he responded that he could not remember the figure because his responsibility was to go round at projects sites. He added that he could not remember seeing the loan agreement coming to Cabinet.

Mrs. Bensouda further put it to him that the council allegations was that Captain Jallow stole more than $3,000,000 but he responded that he was not aware of that neither did he find out as council member. He said a panel was constituted for the recovery of the said sum.

Mr. Touray revealed that the management of funds was not a direct responsibility of the council; adding that some of their transactions were secret and was not privy to all council members. He however explained that he was more of a field operational officer but there were members of council that were involved in the managing of funds which included the former president and Captain Ebou Jallow.

However, he said he was not sure whether Edward Singhatey was part of the financial controllers. He said he was not aware whether additional complaint of $20,000,000 was made against Ebou Jallow.

The commission’s counsel at this juncture put it to him that he seemed not to be aware of many things other than public information despite the fact that he was council member.

“I was not directly involved in the management of funds because it was transacted at the level of the chairman,” he emphasised.

When further asked about project documents under his purview, he responded that they should be in the office of the former president; adding that he was also not in possession of contract documents but most of the reports were sent to Cabinet and he was directed to check them.

According to Mr. Touray, during physical inspection, he used to give verbal instruction. It was put to him by Bensouda that he did not know the outstanding balance of the $35,000,000 loan from Taiwan.

“I have never asked the chairman of the council as to how monies were managed and there was no financial report from the chairman of the council neither did I see any detailed report concerning the funds,” said Touray.

Counsel put it to him that the AFPRC arrested and charged so many people with economic crime yet the sum of $35,000,000 was not accounted for by the junta. He responded that there were institutions that were responsible to recover the missing funds. He added that their role as a junta was to ensure that they made a difference in terms of managing public resources.

Further responding, he said he believed that they were accountable for loans they took on behalf of the Gambian people as well as the way and manner the country was governed. He said to some extent, they had a collective responsibility and were accountable but some of them were different in character.

Commission chairman, Sourahata Janneh, put it to him that the AFPRC claimed to be transparent and accountable, and asked him why funds were secretly spent but he said he thought everything was alright, and he even got to know some of the things through the commission.

He testified that he never knew that there was an account opened in Switzerland. At this juncture, commissioner Saine asked him whether he was aware that he had a legal responsibility when he gave and followed orders, he responded in the positive.

Further responding from the chairman, he said the objectives of the revolution was to ensure that the constitution was reviewed and to serve for 2 years. When put to him by the commission’s chairman that after removing the previous government, why their salaries were low and seeing how the former president enriched himself, would he conclude that they were clean from abject corruption.

In response, he said he thought so; further stating that he served The Gambia without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. He said he was fired and there was no reason given out, and he thought that his firing was political.

He was further told that if the AFPRC called for transparency, accountability and probity, why people were fired without any reasons. He responded that the former president was using his presidential powers to sack people.

“Do you understand the legal responsibility of a successful coup?,” Commissioner Saine asked. He responded in the affirmative.

Next to testify was Mr. Alieu Ngum, a retired public servant and was executive director of African Development Bank (ADB), further stating that he retired as secretary general in 2005 and was once appointed as minister of Finance.

Mr. Ngum was informed that he was summoned in connection to a loan of $35,000,000 but he told the commission that the minister of Finance then was Balla Garba Jahumpa.

According to Ngum, the testimony he was giving the commission would serve as secondary information because there was a minister of Finance at the time while he served as permanent secretary at the ministry and he (Jahumpa) signed the loan agreement.

He said the ministry was not involved in the implementation or programming of any project from this loan, because it was not captured in their accounting books. He said their development partners heard about the loans but they did not see it in the debt stock of the government.

Mr. Ngum further testified that he did not know how the loan was disbursed neither was he informed by the governor of CBG at the time but assumed that the minister might have been informed by the governor.

According to him, at some point, CBG was not audited due to unexplained loan expenditure which included the $28,000,000 loan which the former governor was very tight-lip on. He added that the Ministry of Finance was aware that the account was overdrawn to the tune of $28,000,000.

He said he was not in the office as secretary general when the late Baba Jobe withdrew money on behalf of the former president and he was not aware of the authority issued by the governor of CBG concerning the said overdraft. He said auditors revealed that the money was wrongly used and should be reimbursed to IMF.

Mr. Ngum told the commission that he was not privy to the arrangement of the overdraft, and he could tell very little about the withdrawal of monies by Baba Jobe. He confirmed that loans and grants were given by the Republic of China on Taiwan.

He revealed that there was a grant of $250,000 from the Taiwanese Embassy which was given to the former president. He finally testified that to the best of his knowledge, the Ministry of Finance was not involved in the administration of the $35,000,000 loan neither did they play any role in the recovery of the $3,000,000 stolen by Captain Ebou Jallow.

The chief finance officer of Gamtel, Banding Sillah, was summoned in connection to the financing of Gamtel and various contracts entered by Gamtel on the International Gateway.

He testified that he had been a public servant for almost 30 years and had a summary of a report and supporting documents, further stating that the Department of International Operation was responsible for the management of the funds of Gamtel. He stated that Global Voice came in 2006 and that revenues were paid by the government; adding that the company started as a gateway manager in 2007.

Given a rundown of income generated from the gateway which was paid to Gamtel by Global Voice in 2007, he said the tune of $10, 812,595.92 was paid while in 2008; Oratus paid to Gamtel the sum of $7,875,358. He said Oratus contract was later terminated and there was an interim management from Gamtel comprising himself, acting chief technical operator among others, but they operated with the help of Global Voice.

He said in 2009, System 1 paid $8,653,204.53 to Gamtel while in 2010, they paid $12,770,574.05 and in 2011 they paid to Gamtel the sum of $3,021,662.

Dwelling on Tell payments to Gamtel, he said the sum of $6,216, 200.62 was paid in 2011 while in 2012, the sum of $ 7,449,284 was paid and in 2013 they paid $4,976,803.

At this juncture, documents relating to payments including summary of statements and supporting documents from Gamtel were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

He said there was mobilisation of funds locally to make investment, and they had a meeting with Tell but it did not go down well and it was reported to the former president that Gamtel staff were not cooperating.

According to him, he was not aware that MGI made an investment of $26,000,000 in Gamtel, further stating that there was an evaluation report which was made but he did not know what Gamtel was valued for.

Sittings continue today.
Momodou Posted - 18 Jan 2018 : 12:06:19
Former Government Ministers Appear At ‘Janneh’ Commission

Foroyaa: January 17, 2018
By Mamadou Dem

http://foroyaa.gm/former-government-ministers-appear-at-janneh-commission/

Former senior officials and diplomats of the former government, namely Neneh Macdouall Gaye, Lamin Kaba Bajo and Yankuba Touray, yesterday appeared at the ‘Janneh’ Commission in connection with wide range of issues concerning the former regime.

The former Foreign Affairs Minister Neneh Macdouall-Gaye, was summoned in connection with the sale of shares at Gamtel, which she confirmed; that 50% of the shares at Gamtel was sold to Spectrum.

According to Mrs. Gaye, she did not know much about Spectrum but Mr. Muhammed Bazzi was with them; that she found Spectrum representatives at the Ministry of Finance when she was directed by the former president to sign documents with Spectrum investors; that she signed in good faith and respect for authority, even though it did not go through due process; that the documents were signed in the presence of the then Finance Minister, Musa Balla Gaye.

She informed the Commission that with the signing of documents, there was no consultation but a directive from the former president; that there should have been due process in the sale of Gamtel shares. She however said had it been she was consulted, she would have given her thought.

Mrs. Gaye testified that despite not being consulted, she decided to involve the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marie Saine-Firdaus, as it was a major venture and it should have been tendered; but that the former president opted for it to go his way without following due process.

Counsel Bensouda put it to her that given that she was the Minister responsible for communication, she could have advised the former president concerning the deal. She however said she could not; that refusing to sign, would have resulted to something.

She said she was not sure whether the former president had experience in selling Company shares neither did she know whether he sought advice from people with expert knowledge in the sale of shares of Companies.

At this juncture, Commissioner Saine asked her whether beside the president, any Gambian was involved or represented Gambian interest. She responded that she did not believe the former president consulted anyone. Documents produced by the witness were admitted in evidence.

Mrs. Gaye confirmed that she signed the documents to hand over the management of Gamtel to Spectrum. However, Mrs. Bensouda explained to her that when Spectrum was in charge of the management of Gamtel, they signed an agreement with Oratus Company, but she said she was not au fait with Oratus Company.

Counsel Benouda further asked her to inform the Commission the representative of the former government as shareholder and she responded that it was the Ministry of Finance; that the gateway was taken care of by Gamtel prior to Spectrum coming in.

When asked by Counsel whether she was aware that Spectrum was terminating calls, she responded in the affirmative; that as Minister, it was correct that she never investigated the issue; that she was aware of Global Voice but was not a Minister when their contract was terminated.

Asked by Commissioner Saine as to who drafted the contract between Gamtel and Spectrum, she said she believed it was drafted by Spectrum. However, Saine intimated to her that when it came to the disposal of government assets, the Ministry of Finance was seen to play the leading role. The witness said she would not know.

Mr. Lamin Kaba Bajo, former ambassador to Morocco and China respectively, was summoned in connection with the Republic of China on Taiwan loans and grants. Bajo testified that he became member of the AFPRC on the 31st January 1995, after the failed attempt by Sanna Sabally and Sadibou Hydara; that he was not involved in the restoration of relationship between The Gambia and Taiwan but could recall that the restoration was in 1995 and it was also announced.

On whether he was aware of the $30,000,000 loan granted by Taiwan to The Gambia, he responded in the affirmative, noting that Captain Ebou Jallow came with a briefcase containing the sum of $5,000,000 and later an account was opened.

According to the former AFPRC military Junta member, he was a signatory to a Special Development Account which was opened at the Central Bank for the purpose of development projects; that he became signatory to the account after Ebou Jallow absconded with $3,000,000 which he lodged in a bank in Switzerland; that he was part of the 3-man delegation who travelled to Switzerland to recover the money stolen by Ebou Jallow.

Bajo further testified that the court in Switzerland ruled in favour of the Gambia Government which enabled the state to recover some of the money.

He disclosed that the Special Development Account was meant for infrastructural development, such as the building of the Farafenni General Hospital, Airport and some schools; that he would not know whether properties were purchased from this loan.

The former diplomat turned farmer revealed that he did not know formally that the former president owned a property in Morocco but was informed that the former president used to own a property in Morocco. On the relationship between the late Baba Jobe and former President Jammeh, he said he believed everybody knew that Mr. Jobe was a man of the former president before they fell out; that he did not know anything about the grant from Libya.

When asked by the Commission whether he specifically raised concern to the then president about extraordinary expenditures over the expensive buildings in his (Jammeh) home village, he replied that he knew Jammeh was constructing houses at Kanilai but did not know his source of funds as he was not privy to the construction.

He however said he only came to know his source of funds during the testimony made by witnesses before the Commission and had on several occasions, raised concern to the former president regarding the construction in his home village.

Next to testify was Yankuba Touray, another member of the then AFPRC, who said he is currently a farmer and trader in his home village of Nawleru, in Central Badibu.

Mr. Touray gave evidence on the grants and loan from the Republic of China on Taiwan and the 3M Account as well.

According to him, he was a member of the Council from 1994-1996; that when they took over, the AFPRC had discussions in order to restore bilateral relation with Taiwan which was discussed among all the members including the co-opted members as well as civilians; thatEbou Jallow led the delegation to Taiwan to restore the relationship; that he was not involved in the loan agreement but the amount involved was $35,000,000; that he was not aware of the $3, 000,00 stolen by Ebou Jallow but heard this on radio as he was not in town.

Mr. Touray said he did not know the amount of money disbursed because he was not managing the funds neither was he aware of the $5,000,000 brought by Ebou Jallow in a briefcase to the Council; that they could not challenge some of the decisions taken by the Chairman (Jammeh) as civilian and military set-up was different.

When asked about the relationship between Baba Jobe and the Council, he replied that they did not have any direct relationship.

Earlier, Mr. Omar P. Ndow, former Executive Chairperson of GAMTEl, was summoned in connection with GAMTEL Memorandum of Understanding with Global Voice Group. He told the ‘Janneh’ Commission that the fraud at State House was outrageous.

Further testifying, he disclosed that he worked in various capacities at GAMTEL and served as the Executive Chairperson responsible for technical operations of the Company and was also the board chairperson.

He testified that he started working at GAMTEL in 1984; that he was detained at the NIA for three months and was charged with Economic Crimes at the high court; that the case was transferred to the magistrates’ court for one year when he was eventually acquitted and discharged; that he left GAMTEL on 17th September, 2009; that he signed the memorandum of Understanding produced by Global Voice Group.

He was told that the Commission was looking into the interference of the former president with GAMTEL; that through the billing machine, they could see what was going out but not see what was coming in.

Mr. Ndow stated that they could not recover over $600,000 through their service; that through the billing system, the revenue came to $1.5 million per month. He however said the fraud was outrageous as there was termination of traffic at State House which he said affected their bilateral relations.

The witness further disclosed that there were operational problems and he decided to come up with the idea to link with the international market because in terms of revenue, what was going out of the Company was known while what was coming in was not.

According to him, equipment were installed at State House including a satellite at the backyard of State House and there was blockage of traffic; that they could not detect all the fraud coming into the country; that the purpose of partnering with Senegal was to serve as a backup should in case there was a problem with the system in The Gambia; that they could not detect all the flow coming into the country; that nobody could go to State House to install a satellite to block the traffic without the knowledge of the former president.

He further stated that one Mr. Hakim was involved in the international traffic of Global Voice instead of the local calls he applied for; that the amount of loss incurred by State House was unquantifiable; that it would have been an option to ask Global Voice to manage their system.

Responding to Commissioners, he said among the advantages from Global Voice was that there was increase in revenue and quality services at GAMTEL because the Company was able to discover numerous fraud caused by mobile operators and IPS installers; that the system they had could not detect some of their problems but Global Voice was able to do so.

Mr. Ndow explained that there was a better relationship to involve Global Voice with the management because they gave GAMTEL $3,000,000 for the investment.

The former Executive Chairman informed the Commission that he did not know the contract duration of the said Company but was quick to confirm that Gamtel staff were trained by them so that they could take over the management of the Company.

He revealed that the sum of $5,000,000 loan from Trust Bank was endorsed to pay Spectrum their 50% share in Gamtel / Gamcel. He however said he was not aware of the 50% share owned by Spectrum as he was not in the system at the time of the contract agreement; that the management of the gateway had always been the responsibility of GAMTEL and not the stakeholders.

He said he would not know where the funds were directed to; that the Director of Finance should be able to explain where the funds have gone to. He said the management of GAMTEL decided for the Company to be privatised because the environment was getting more and more hostile.

At this juncture, documents produced by the witness were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

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