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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 - 23 Feb 2018 : 21:07:39
Mobicell Blue Ocean Wireless Proprietor appears at Janneh Commission

Foroyaa: February 23, 2018
By Mamadou Dem

http://foroyaa.gm/mobicell-blue-ocean-wireless-proprietor-appears-at-janneh-commission/

Mr. Balla Jassey, the proprietor of Mobicell Blue Ocean Wireless and Multimedia Gateway Incorporation (MGI) companies, and who is also a telecom expert, yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission in connection with MGI Swiss on the management of the International Gateway of Gamtel.
He told the commission that he is a telecom and IT expert with 20 years’ experience but had never worked in the public service, adding that MGI and Mobicell are limited liability companies but are separate entities. However, he said Mobicell is an IT telecom company and focuses more on telecom services.
On Mobicell, he said he owns 95% while his wife, Rabiatou Fatty, owns 5% share.
At this juncture, he told the commission that he was in possession of the Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum and Article of Association, Business Registration Certificate, Annual Returns and GPPA certificate of both companies which were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
According to him, Mobicell and MGI are connected and had two contracts for the management of the international gateway. However, he said MGI Swiss gave technical support to the Multimedia Gateway Incorporation (MGI Gambia) and Mobicell for the management of the gateway.
He said the management of Gamtel Gateway was outsourced to his company (MGI) who paid its staff on the ground but was not managing the gateway directly. Mrs. Bensouda however told him to furnish the commission with financial transactions, including invoices they submitted to the Swiss company. However, he confirmed that they were paid for the technical service they provided for the management of the gateway and had invoices for the projects they were contracted for.
Dwelling on the management of Gamtel Gateway, he said both companies participated in the international gateway. At this point, Commissioner Saine interjected and asked him why Mobicell and MGI were not joined as one company. He responded that due to the nature of their profession, coupled with specialty, the companies could not be put under one umbrella.
The telecom expert informed the commission that he at times resorted to MGI for the implementation of projects that were not suitable for Mobicell, adding that initially he concentrated on Mobicell as a telecom consultancy but now it is involved in implementing projects.
He said the reason for not involving Mobicell in the implementation of projects was because the required experts were limited or lacking but has now absorbed people with the knowhow.
Responding further, he said there were no specific financial arrangements with MGI Swiss but rather it was based on the invoices they submitted to them.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine asked him to give his educational background and he responded that he has a Bachelors and double Masters in IT and telecom engineering and had worked in various parts of the world before he set up his own companies.
The witness was asked by counsel whether he had the returns of 2015, and he responded that they were in his office and was told by the commission to produce the said returns before the commission.
Mr. Jassey was also asked if he had the transfers of shares of his company. He replied that he believed his legal adviser would be able to produce them, adding that one late Kebba Ceesay was a shareholder in the said company and he was not in possession of the shareholder documents involving the late Ceesay.
He acknowledged that the difference between Mobicell and MGI was that they had two different agreements, one of which was in May 2014 which was for Guinea-Bissau and other countries, noting that it was MGI that was involved in this agreement.
He said Mobicell was involved in the October 2014 agreement which he said was for The Gambia.
Mr. Jassey told the commission that both companies were responsible for the management of GAMTEL, noting that Mobicell was first incorporated in 2011. He testified that Mobicel, MGI and the Gambia were involved in the management of the gateway.
At this juncture, the witness produced a document that covered their relationship with MGI-Swiss. It was later put to him by counsel that MGI Swiss was managing the gateway. In response, he said he was responsible for his technical staff.
However commission chairman Sourahata Janneh asked the witness whether MGI Swiss and MGI Gambia was a coincidence, he replied in the affirmative.
Further testifying, he told the commission that he knew MGI Swiss through one British national and he had a contract with the said British in 2010.
At this juncture, Chairman Sourahata Janneh asked him whether he left all those jobs abroad just to set up a company in The Gambia. In response, he said he resigned from Cisco and returned to the Gambia and later started doing consultancy services for Standard Chartered Bank, GT Bank, Trust Bank and Gambia Police Force.
He explained that the E-government was implemented by him. He finally stressed that he was just involved technically.
Sitting continues
Momodou Posted - 22 Feb 2018 : 13:46:55
The accounts were in shambles-Ex-Agric Business DG

The Point: Thursday, February 22, 2018

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/the-accounts-were-in-shambles-ex-agric-business-dg

Bakary L.O. Sonko, the former director general (DG) at the Ministry of Agriculture, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that the accounts at the Central Bank where monies given to The Gambia government as grants were deposited in shambles.

He was summoned in connection to the Japanese grants in which he was involved. He said he became involved in the grant when all the departments under the agricultural unit were merged and restructured.

Prior to that, he told the commission that he served the Ministry of Agriculture for almost 35 years and the best; he spent with the cooperative department.

According to him, the purpose of the grant was to help the under privileged farmers and that was how he got involved but was not the focal person. He added that the ministry at the time managed the grant internally.

He also told the commission that they confirmed how the proceeds were deposited at CBG and also monitored the disbursement of consignments and prepared quarterly reports to the Japanese. He said after they held a meeting, the government was involved and a co-committee was also formed to come up with a payment plan for the grant and approved by the office of the former president.

Mr. Sonko, however, disclosed that he was concerned about the commodities given to KGI whom he said were selling at a particular high price and KGI was supposed to deposit the proceeds at CBG but they realised that KGI was in shortfall and they did not abide by the agreement. He said he was not dealing directly with the former president despite the fact that he was their minister but was of the belief that the PS was dealing with him.

He said there were outstanding deliveries of fertilizer at the office of the former president; adding that when he voluntarily retired from the Central Government and joined the Agric Project, he was coordinating the grants through Agric Business.

Mr. Sonko agreed that the grants that were meant to help the under privileged farmers were not utilised for the purpose it was meant for, however, he blamed KGI for not complying with the terms and conditions of the agreement as most of these grants were concentrated within the Greater Banjul Area.

He said he believed that KGI did not have a competitor for the contract to sell the commodities because it belongs to the former president. However, Commissioner Bai Mass Saine further asked him why they continued to supply KGI when there were shortfalls.

In response, he said it was a long term arrangement and could not be stopped immediately; adding that what they requested from the office of the former president as the shortfall of D92, 000.000 was more than the said amount.

Kebba Drammeh, principal record officer at the Office of the President, submitted files that were related to Taiwanese loans which were admitted as exhibits.

Augustus Prom, who was appointed by the government to serve as the receiver on properties belonging to the former president, reappeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission alongside with Louise Prom Junior.

Prior to his testimony, he was reminded by Counsel Anna Njie that he was served with a summon in connection to the receivership of 17 companies of the former president. Prom Jnr. responded in the affirmative.

According to him, they had an executive summary where the names of these companies were listed.

At this juncture, the executive summary in receivership along with other documents were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

He said the objective was meeting those on the ground and explaining to them concerning the receivership of their companies, noting that they also dealt with their staffing and banking. He told the commission that those they found on the ground were cooperating with them.

He testified that the Green Industry has an account at the Trust Bank which was registered but that the Royal Company has no receivership, further stating that they took over the Observer Company and it has serious issues, and it was closed by the GRA which they owe some money.

On KGI, he said it deals mostly in commodities and also engages in bakery, noting that there was a resolution for shareholders.

Next to testify was Attikan Dibba, principal accountant, CBG, who reappeared in connection to Japanese loans and grants. He testified that they had 25 accounts relating to the said grants and loans from Japan.

According to him, proceeds were lodged into the Central Bank after the sales of the commodities and the proceeds were deposited as far back as 1990; adding that the purpose was to accumulate the proceeds from the said grants.

He testified that they had the account numbers and balances and out of the 25 accounts, he said they selected 10 accounts and according to him they were in the high balance which was over D10, 000,000. He then gave details and balances in each of the account, date of opening and the denominations of each account in dalasi and dollar.

Mr. Dibba revealed that out of the ten accounts, they only had the transactions of five accounts. Dwelling on some of the accounts, he said the Japanese Grant Trade Gateway was opened on the 6th September, 2000, and the balance was zero while the Japanese for TR Programme was opened on the 25thSeptember, 2000, with a balance of D631, 625.49.

On the Japanese Grant 2KR 2000, he said it was opened on the 30th December, 2002, with a balance of D160, 707.35 while the Grant Development Phase 2 was opened on the 11th September, 2003, with zero balance. The KR Japanese Grant, he said was opened on the 5th May, 2005, and there was a balance of D2, 309,415. He said the Japanese Food Aid 2006 account was opened on the 22nd June, 2007, with a balance of D3, 348,514.78.

The Sales of Fertilizer Account, he said it was opened on the 19th of January, 2009, with a balance of D19, 051,055 while the Wheat Flour account was opened on the 28th of February, 2012, with a balance of D3, 720,000 and the JAMKR account was opened on the 1st of September, 2014, with a balance of D4, 105,099.59. The JAFK account he said was opened on the 1st of September, 2014, with a balance of D105, 690.19.

Buttressing further on these accounts, the principal banker revealed that there was another account called 2KR Account and the first transaction was on the 16th May, 2012, with a balance of D5, 580,000 while 2KR 1999 Account first transaction was on the 2nd December, 2002, with a balance of D14, 725.

On 2KR 2000 C, he said the first transaction was 2nd December, 2002, with a balance of D643, 772.12, while the 2K 2007 Account, the first transaction was on the 9th January, 2009, and the balance was D724, 890 and the Japanese Aid Sale of Wheat Flour first transaction was on the 2nd of October, 1999, and the balance was D738,732,58.

According to him, the Aid KR 2010 account, the first transaction was on the 25th of July, 2012, and the balance was D25, 992,711.11, while the RSSP Account first transaction was 1st of February, 2000, with a nil balance. RSSP Account’s first transaction was 2nd of October, 1999, with a nil balance as well.

On SD Education Project Account, he said there was no transaction with zero balance but on the WRG Account, the first transaction was on the 2nd of October, 1999, with a balance of D1, 000,000, while the KR 2004 Rice Food Aid Account, the first transaction was on the 8th of May, 2006, with a balance of D957, 609.35. He said the KR 2009 Account, the first transaction was on the 23rd of August, 2011, and there was a balance of D71, 520,625.63.

The Sales of Japanese Rice Account, the first transaction was on the 28th of July, 2004, with a balance of D44, 752,200, while the Sales of Fertilizer Account, there was a balance of D24, 235,582 but they did not have the first transaction on this account. However, he promised the commission that they would update the remaining accounts.

Documents relating to these accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits. Sittings continue today.
Momodou Posted - 22 Feb 2018 : 12:26:59
Japanese gov’t claims KGI did not deposit all the monies Says Ex-Head Agric Business

The Point: Wednesday, February 21, 2018
http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/japanese-govt-claims-kgi-did-not-deposit-all-the-monies-says-ex-head-agric-business

Cherno Mballow, former head of Agric Business, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that the Japanese government claimed that KGI did not deposit all the monies generated from the grants given to the Gambia government by the Japanese government.

The former head of Agric Business at the Department of Agriculture was summoned with regard to Japanese grants to the government of The Gambia.

According to him, his role was to coordinate all business activities of the Department of Agriculture which he said included training of farmers, registration of cooperatives among others.

According to him, he took over from Bakary Sonko as the head of Agric Business until in 2014, when he was responsible for the grants.

He said the ministry was responsible for the grants which was mainly in cash and there was an agreement that one of the Japanese agencies would handle the project, further stating that they would do the clearance for rice consignment at the ports and the sales proceeds should be deposited at the Central Bank, where monies were deposited by Kanilai Group International.

According to him, there were agreements signed by the permanent secretary and KGI and the grants were in food aid such as rice, flour and fertilizer.

He recalled that during his time, he only witnessed four consignments from the Japanese grants, adding that he was the focal point between the ministry and Japan at the time.

He also told commissioners that KGI was subcontracted to sell the said commodities and deposit the proceeds at the Central Bank.

He further said that in 2009, the ministry invited business partners to offer them the said commodities for sale which included Shyben A Madi and KGI but Shyben A Madi declined the offer and was given to KGI.

However, he said the terms and conditions of the offer were not cleared at the time of the meeting, noting that any price proposal by the ministry at the time would be forwarded to the office of the former president for approval.

Mr. Mballow, however, disclosed that they did not make any follow-up with KGI for the deposit of the proceeds but confirmed that KGI did not deposit all the proceeds at the CBG.

He said the Japanese agent would check how much was deposited by KGI at the CBG, noting that there was a commission awarded on the business which was determined by the permanent sectary.

He added that whatever price was determined, there would be an approval by the former president, further stating that the Japanese government gave a time limit for every project but there was no audit report.

He further told the commission that the reconciliations were done between the stores and KGI, noting that the Japanese government claimed that KGI did not deposit all the monies from the consignment of the commodities.

Next to testify was Mr. Abdoulie Hydara, director general of Gambia Tourism Board, in connection to lease document of the Operation Save the Children Foundation which was initiated by the former president as a charitable organisation.

Testifying before the commission, Mr. Hydara said he knew the foundation through the Ministry of Tourism, adding that there was a directive to issue them a land [sub-leased land] dated 25 August, 2016.

According to him, they received a letter from the ministry to ascertain a plot of land at the GT Board, noting that they were not told the reason to allocate the said land and a letter dated 25 August, 2015, authorised them to allocate the land through one Lamin Fatty.

He recalled that the board was invited by Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie and Fatou Lamin Faye to allocate the land to the foundation and he called Mrs. Njie and asked why one of his staff was invited without his knowledge.

He testified that the letter was handed over to the Ministry of Tourism and the land committee was responsible to recommend for land allocation, further noting that the board would be informed to do the allocation.

He said according to the executive directives, the ministry had to allocate the land to the foundation, adding that most of the lands were committed to the former president to be used by Kanilai Family Farms.

Mr. Hydara stated that they had nine Tourism Development Areas, noting that about 34% on TDA1 was given to the former president, stating that at the time he assumed office, he did not receive any communication that the land given to the former president was used for tourism purposes. He added that the sub-lease was not registered with the Ministry of Justice.

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

Further testifying before the commission, he told the commission that he could not tell the allocation of other TDAs, disclosing that they had never received any application from Kanilai Family Farms to be allocated a land at the TDA.

Mr. Hydara, however, said he was not satisfied with the way the land was allocated to KFF, further testifying that they had twenty-seven applications for allocation of land out of which he said ten were approved.

Mrs. Ada Gaye, former permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, reappeared in connection to Japanese rice project which was a grant from the Japanese government to The Gambia government.

She told the commission that it was correct that she received some consignments and this was a support for the under privileged farmers and according to her, each consignment had a correspondent account and after selling the consignment, it was deposited into that account and anytime the Gambia government wanted to use the funds, they sought for a clearance from the Japanese government.

According to Mrs. Gaye, the consignment she received was handed over to KGI as instructed by the former president, noting that they once suggested for a level playing field for the private sector. However, when she took over, she discovered that KGI was the sole contractor for the sales of the Japanese rice.

At this juncture, correspondences from the Ministry of Agriculture relating to the grant were admitted in evidence.

The witness also confirmed to the commission that there were supplies from the Japanese government prior to 2009; adding that a committee discovered that there was an outstanding sum of D30,000,000 from the fertilizer and D17,000,000 from the rice while the sum of D92,000,000 was paid without authorization for the purchase of fertilizer from Indonesia.

However, she informed the commission that an outstanding sum of D61, 000,000 was paid by the former president but she could not ask for further payments from the former president because she was scared.

At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda asked her to explain why she was scared, and she said that she was told that the former president was not happy for people to ask him to pay up and the sum of D30, 000,000 is still pending.

On whether the Japanese did not threaten to withdraw the support, she responded in the negative and added that there were additional consignments when she left the office.

Sergeant 2374 Ebrima Bah, a police officer attached to the Serious Crime Unit of the The Gambia Police Force (GPF) and a member of the taskforce that investigated government properties at Brufut Garden Estate, testified that the taskforce comprised the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Drug Law Enforcement Agency of The Gambia (DLEAG) and the police respectively.

According to him, the Term of Reference (TOR) of the taskforce was to find out the terms and conditions and allocations of the bungalows and during the course of their investigation, they were informed that 12 apartments were authorised by Muhammed Bazzi to be given out but they were not told why Mr. Bazzi lodged people in those apartments.

He said at the time of the fact finding, Mr. Bazzi was said to be out of the jurisdiction. On the other hand, he said the Chief of Protocol Alagie Ousman Ceesay, allocated houses to people on the instruction of the former president likewise Sanna Jarju, former chief of protocol, as well.

According to Sergeant Bah, some of the apartments were occupied by a Nigerian judge, brother of the former first lady and a Moroccan who died in a car accident among others.

He testified that they were told that two of the apartments belonged to Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC); adding that they discovered that those occupying the place were not paying any rental fees.

He finally revealed that among their recommendations was to evict them out and allow people that would be of benefit to the government to occupy the premises which he said was what they meant in their report as ‘review’ and ‘revisit’.

Hearing continues today.

Author: Dawda Faye
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

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