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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||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
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)
||Posted - 09 Mar 2018 : 13:14:17
‘I am not competent to tell why no facility letter to give loan to JFP’
Thed Point: Friday, March 09, 2018
The managing director of Trust Bank, Ebrima Sallah, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that he was not competent to tell the commission why there was no facility letter to give a loan to Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP).
He reappeared to explain the deduction of funds from various accounts relating to the former president and Jammeh Foundation for Peace among other accounts.
Mr. Sallah, in his evidence, confirmed the deduction of over $100,000 and transferred to various accounts, noting that the former president was a signatory to all the accounts where funds were deducted and transferred.
He, however, told the commissioners that he had not seen the facility letter indicating the terms and conditions of the loan with regard to the Jammeh Foundation for Peace accounts; adding that no correspondence was shown to him and concluded that the document was not at their office.
According to him, the former president was the one managing the said accounts and also gave instructions for the transaction on the foundation’s accounts and other related accounts. “It is unacceptable to give out the loan without a facility letter,” Commissioner Saine told the witness.
At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda reminded him that the commission was expecting documents relating to JFP accounts.
Mr. Augustus Prom Junior, Louise Prom, also reappeared before the commission with regard to the Westwood Company and was told by Mrs. Bensouda that he was to provide information relating to Westwood Company in connection to payments made to the former president. In response, Mr. Prom disclosed that he had the information.
He told the commission that they had given BPI Tourism and Services officials’ access to the records of Westwood Company for the exportation of timber.
He also gave the summary of the timber exported by the company from the years 2014 to 2017 and the total containers of timber exported, he said, was 13,028 valued at $39,084,000.
He also provided the loan agreement between Westwood Company and its other agencies, testifying that the sum of $5million-loan was in respect of Ocean Bay Hotel while the sum of$ 2million-loan was in respect of Sun Beach Hotel, and there was another loan of $500,000 in respect of the Mineral Company which had 3 years grace period without an interest.
According to him, the sum of over D38, 000,000 was outstanding while the sum of D62, 933,406 was in relation to Sun Beach Hotel, further stating that the sum of $7,810,115 was disbursed to Kanilai Family Farms as advance dividend by Westwood Company from the years 2015 to 2016.
Mr. Prom also told the commission that he had the tenancy agreement between BPI Tourism and Services Ltd. and Westwood Company and the sum of $40,000 was the annual payment agreement.
Further testifying, he said The Gambia Revenue Authority is claiming the sum of D253, 000,000 from Westwood Company and out of this sum, the company only paid the sum of D70, 000,000 with regard to tax while Maersk Line Shipping Agency is claiming the sum of D11.2 million for the containers used for shipment, while GIEPA is claiming the sum of $5million for the warehouse at the airport. He added that the total debt for Westwood Company amounted to D273, 930,000.
At this juncture, summary of the containers exported and other related documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Mr. Anthony Panetta, former Westwood administrator, also reappeared before the commission and informed that he is the only director of BPI Tourism and Services Ltd.
He was summoned in connection to some documents to be submitted to the commission with regard to Westwood and BPI Tourism and Services Ltd. respectively.
Documents produced by the witness including the Memorandum and Article of Association of BPI Tourism and Services Ltd. correspondences between the witness and the managing director of BPI, agreement between Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation and BPI for the management of both Ocean Bay and Sun Beach hotels were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Mrs. Bensouda told him that he was expected to compile dividend to BPI which should be submitted to the commission.
The commission will resume on the 19th of March, 2018.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 08 Mar 2018 : 13:02:53
Gamtel operates at a loss Says Current GM,Gamcel
Thursday, March 08, 2018
Elizabeth Mendy - Johnson, the current general manager at Gamcel, yesterday testified before the Janneh Commission, saying that Gamtel operates at a loss.
She reappeared in connection to MGI projects.
In her testimony, she told the commission that MGI sent a female staff for skill development, noting that MGI supported them for roaming and that there was aggressive partnership with MGI for support.
She further stated that Gamtel has been in existence since 2001 and their partnership with MGI was a development project, noting that; “you should know what your partner is giving you is correct.”
According to Mrs. Johnson, she knew from the agreement that an amount should be paid but understood that MGI would not ask for payment. It was put to her by Counsel Bensouda that MGI deducted $1,093,600 for roaming, and she said that she was not aware.
The witness was also asked by Counsel Bensouda whether she knew the list of all those who attended the MGI event and the cost involved.
In response, she told the commission that she could not remember, noting that PURA rated Gamtel third in rank, adding that Gamcel has not gained any significant development.
However, she adduced that Gamtel owns Gamcel and they appoint managers as well, further stating that they are trying to compete, and competition depends on what you could offer.
She told the commission that she could not tell off head the lowest revenue collected but Gamtel operated at a loss.
Mrs Johnson further stated that when the contract with MGI was stopped, they could not bill their customers, disclosing that they had to go back to their billing system.
“We used to average between D 900, 000 and D 1, 000, 000 loss a day,” she stated.
She narrated that they needed the most sophisticated billing system to make it more vibrant and up to standard, stating further that they needed to pay MGI $1.7 million after the contract with MGI was terminated.
She testified that no action was taken to negotiate for the payment of this amount, disclosing that they were trying to see if they could budget for another billing system.
Ousman Jobarteh, the deputy managing director of Gambia Port Authority, also faced the commission to shed light on the exportation of timbers by Westwood Company.
He told the commission that he knew the said company which was involved in the exportation of timber bound for China.
Mr. Jobarteh further stated that he had a record of how many containers the company exported to China, revealing that the company exported in 2014/15,106 containers while in 2012, they exported 19,747 containers and they were timbers in logs.
At this juncture, documents relating to the summary of the activities of the company were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Asked how the company was introduced to GPA, he said the agency they were dealing with gave them a letter as the sole exporter of timbers. Mr. Jobarteh went on to say that according to the letter, the company was authorised to export timbers, adding that Westwood brought a scanner which is stationed at GPA to scan containers and is currently operating and is under their custody.
Next to face the commission was the former deputy director of Agricultural Engineering Service, Ousainou Jobe, and the current officer in charge of the unit at the Ministry of Agriculture, Mustapha Minteh.
Mr. Jobe told the commissioners that he started work from 1973 to 31 December, 2017.
He was reminded that they were summoned in connection to John Deere tractors.
According to him, they assembled 78 tractors and there was a team from South Africa, noting that the tractors were left at MSA garage and the ministry asked him to be responsible for the tractors.
He informed the commission that the tractors were left at the garage for one year and letters came from the ministry to leave the tractors at the garage.
Mr. Jobe revealed that 334 farming implements were handed over by the office of the former president, noting that after the handing over, instructions came to supply the tractors.
He stated that up to 2015, 55 tractors were distributed, and 13 were left at MSA garage, further disclosing that it was one Siaka who was responsible for MSA and the tractors were handed over to him.
Mr. Jobe further told the commission that generals, Tamba and Badjie gave the instructions to distribute the 55 tractors and was quick to say that most of the tractors were received by Kanilai Family Farms and they were told that the tractors should be given out on hire basis.
He informed the commission that two tractors were taken to exiled former president’s mother’s farms in Bujinga, noting that they were made to understand that the tractors were bought by SSHFC, and that those who were hiring the tractors did not pay for their services.
At this juncture, summary of the distribution of the tractors were tendered and admitted as evidence.
The director of IT Gamtel/ Gamcel , Seedy Ceesay, also appeared before the commission in connection to MGI project.
He said he is based at Gamcel office but both companies contributed to their budget, adding that from August 2017 to date he has been working with Gamcel.
According to him, as the managing director of co-network, at the time he was involved in the switching of networks, noting that he has never set his eyes on MGI switches despite they were managing the gateway and did not know where their switch was located.
He said he did not have any connection to the switches of MGI but was involved in the billing system and they were to integrate their switches to MGI and the authority came from the then MD.
However, he said he was involved in one MGI project, that’s Gamcel billing system, further indicating that they had a meeting in Switzerland to discuss the bypass fraud, and the loss was not discussed at the meeting.
Mr. Ceesay told the commission that what they discussed at the meeting was that they needed to have a server, stating that MGI was responsible for detecting the fraud, since they were managing the international gateway.
“It is not a fraud on our side but on the international gateway,” he told the commission.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked him why Gamtel had difficulties in the operation of the system after taking over from MGI. In response, he said he did not know why the system was not working and that he did not know what MGI did on the system.
Mr. Ceesay informed the commission that they called experts but the system was not working, disclosing that he did not know anything about the sum of over $1million deducted by MGI.
Sarjo Khan, the Director of Customer Care Services at Gamcel, also gave evidence on the same matter.
Hearing continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 07 Mar 2018 : 15:37:15
Jammeh never wanted to be asked questions on the Gamtel gateway - says Momodou Sabally
The Poine: Wednesday, March 07, 2018
The former secretary general, Momodou Sabally, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that former President Jammeh never wanted to be asked questions on the Gamtel gateway.
He reappeared to shed light on the contract between MGI Telecom Company and the government for the management of Gamtel international gateway which he signed in his capacity as the then secretary general.
Testifying before the commission on the contract, he said he was called at Kanilai where he met the former president, former managing director of Gamtel, Baboucarr Sanyang, Bala Jassey, a gentleman from Switzerland and General Saul Badjie for MGI to take over the management of the gateway.
According to him, an agreement was reached for MGI to take over the gateway which included the technical aspect of the contract and proceeds were sent into the government account and MGI also had a share.
However, he said he could not remember whether there was specific fees that MGI supposed to receive, further stating that the former president decided to terminate the contract of TELL, the reason, he said, he was not privy to.
Further testifying, Sabally claimed that he believed that General Saul Badjie had an influence on the said contract , noting that Gamtel contracted the gateway management to MGI.
He further told the commission that they signed an agreement and MGI took over the management of the gateway, further stating that after one month, he did not see the said gentleman from Switzerland.
According to him, he called the then Gamtel MD at the time and told him that revenues were not being paid and further forwarded his concern to Jammeh who promised him that he would take care of the issue.
Sabally stated that the former president downplayed his constraint and later he travelled, so when he came back few months later, he was fired as SG.
He recalled that he signed the agreement but could not remember the terms and conditions of the contract neither could he recall the date he signed the contract.
He stated that he did not seek legal advice and could not remember who was present at the time of signing the contract, noting that it was possible that the contract he signed was missing.
Mr. Sabally went on to say that it was the responsibility of Gamtel to protect the interest of the government, further noting that he was aware that an account was opened by the office of the former president.
Further testifying, he told the commission that he did not know whether the former president requested for an incentive for terminating the contract with TELL.
He said he believed that his dismissal partly had to do with the contract, noting that any time the gateway was changing hand, he would not be involved.
Commissioner Saine, at this juncture, asked him what was the interest of the former president in the gateway, and he responded that he believed that the former president benefitted from the contract.
Mr. Sabally adduced that he would not say Saul Badjie was a co-president but he believed that he was more powerful than the former vice president, adding that Saul Badjie was calling ministers and giving them instructions.
“There were consequences for not abiding by Saul Badjie’s instruction,” he finally told the commission.
Earlier, the managing director of FIB, Modou Mousa , reappeared in connection to KGI and KFF files.
He told the commission that they had the original copies of the accounts of these companies.
He was, however, reminded by counsel that they had submitted four accounts. On the JB KGI account, the signatories were Alieu B. Ceesay and Sajar Camara , noting that the account was opened on 7 November, 2012.
At this juncture, transaction documents and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Dwelling on KGI joint venture account, he said the signatories were the same while on KGI bakery account ,he said it was opened on 14 June, 2014, with a balance of D92,040.14 and the signatories were Goreh Njie, David Omar Bass and Binta Sanneh.
Further testifying on KGI Japanese rice account, he said it was opened on 13 May, 2014, and the signatories were the same and there was a balance of D2, 497,830.25.
On KGI Gambia Muslim butchers account, he stated that it was opened on 6 May, 2016, and the signatories were the same, with a balance of D658, 148.23 and there were no transactions on the account but service fees were charged.
Mr. Mousa said KGI boutique account was opened on 30 May, 2014, with the same signatories, noting that there was a balance of D56,923.48.
On KGI cement account, he told the commission that it was opened on 19 March, 2015, with the balance of D33,308.65 with the same signatories.
On Sindola Safari lodge account, he testified that it was opened on 2 February, 2010, and Amadou Samba served as signatory to the account on 10 September, 2012, and the balance was D210, 876.03.
Further testifying, Mr. Mousa disclosed that the Mooten Kafoo account was opened on 26 July, 2008, while the signatories were the former president and Ebou Jammeh, with a total balance of D13, 185.34.
At this juncture, the said accounts were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Dominic Gomez, the managing director of Zenith Bank, also faced the commission in connection to the accounts submitted to the commission.
Dwelling on some accounts, he mentioned that KGI Japanese rice account was opened on 18 January, 2011, and Ousman Bojang was the sole signatory, noting that there was a balance of D834.87 at the time it was closed while another KGI Japanese rice account, he stated was opened on 22 May, 2014, and the signatories were Wory Njie-Ceesay, Saja Camara and David Omar Bass with a balance of D160, 016.62.
Documents relating to the accounts were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Hearing continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 06 Mar 2018 : 12:28:09
Jammeh’s belongings displayed at Janneh Commission
The Point: Tuesday, March 06, 2018
Items believed to have belonged to the former President Yahya Jammeh were yesterday displayed by the Janneh Commission after an inventory of his belongings were brought by Spt. Foday Baldeh, who said he is the commander of PIU at State House.
He said the items were found in luxurious vehicles of the former president after he was not allowed to travel with them. According to the witness, the items were found by Spt. Gorgi Mboob who handed over the items in suitcases.
The items found in the suitcases are as follows: title deeds and other documents belonging to the former president, power of attorney, extract of minutes of Cabinet meetings, file containing Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP) papers, file containing documents relating to Kanilai Family Farms, power of attorney dated 21 January, 2008, to Ousman Y. Bojang alias Pa Bojang, folder containing miscellaneous items belonging to the former president, documents showing aborted sale of challenger aircraft, collection of UTG medal, two gold coins, two necklaces, two gold-plated pistols and gold-plated watch, two precious stones, gold-plated pistol, twenty rounds of bullets, 36 executive vehicle keys and a bunch of various keys and two-month black fell pen and ink bottle.
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Assan Jallow, also appeared before the commission in connection to the Japanese grants but failed to produce certain documents required by the commission.
Commission counsel, Amie Bensouda, told the commission that the witness was required to furnish the commission with certain information but failed to do so.
However, the witness replied that they had provided the commission with all the documents, noting that they had some files to submit.
Mr. Jallow stated that he thought that the commission would get in touch with their record office, but he was told by Counsel Bensouda that it was their office that should have furnished the commission with the required documents.
Counsel Bensouda further put it to him that one Ebrima Colley called him and would not pick up his phone.
At this juncture, Chairman Sourahata Janneh told the witness that they had powers to deal with witnesses, noting further that if the witness failed, the commission would resort to their power.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda told the chairman that the commission needed all the closed files regarding the Japanese grants from the year 1998 to date, list of Japanese aids, accounts of all the proceeds from 1998 to date, all contracts signed with Kanilai Group International, reconciliation of supplies made to KGI and amounts paid by KGI into the Central Bank Account, and any other relevant documents.
Chairman Sourahata Janneh, at this juncture, gave the witness until 20 March, 2018, to submit the documents required by the commission, and if he had any excuses, he could liaise with the secretary to the commission.
Earlier, Isatou Auber, former secretary to the Cabinet, who was served with a summons on 28 February, 2018, according to the process server, failed to appear before the commission.
She was summoned with regard to the payment of D7million from MRI. Counsel Bensouda then urged the chairman of the commission to warn the witness, noting that if she fails to appear on Thursday, a bench warrant should be served on her.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 02 Mar 2018 : 12:22:57
‘Ex-President gave tax exemption to Westwood Company’
The Point: Friday, March 02, 2018
Anthony Panetta, a consultant for BPI Tourism and Services and former administrator at Westwood Company, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that the former president gave tax exemption to Westwood Company. He was testifying in connection to the said company.
He stated that Westwood was registered on 16 April, 2014, and he joined the company in July, 2014, but resigned in September, 2017.
He added that BPI is a registered Gambian company and is responsible for the management of Ocean Bay and Sun Beach Hotel respectively.
On the shares of Westwood Company, he said BPI owns 50% share while Kanilai Family Farms owns 50% share, noting that when he joined BPI in 2014, the former directors intimated to him that they had directives from the office of the former president for Westwood Company to export timbers.
However, he said the directive was not issued to him but rather it was issued to Westwood Company and he would not know when the company started exporting timbers.
According to him, the former commander of the Republican Guard, General Saul Badjie, and one Mr. Nacrin signed the contract for the exportation of timbers on behalf of the companies while the director was Dracos Hussein who was also a shareholder, further stating that one Topya Mark is managing the hotels.
Mr. Panetta told the commission that there was an authorisation from the office of the former president dated 1st of June, 2014, a letter from the Department of Forestry, dated 16th of June, 2014, authorising the company to export wood, and another letter from the Interior Ministry which was a permit for the exportation of woods as well.
He said prior to the authorisation, he did not know what the company was doing, noting that the company was operating when he joined it and confirmed that it was only Westwood that was exporting woods from The Gambia. He stated that in 2015, the company started the movement of timbers.
At this juncture, documents relating to the company were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Continuing his testimony, he said the directors recruited him to work for the company, noting that no taxes were paid before the change of government. However, he said part of the taxes was paid to the tune of D20, 000,000. According to him, he was told that the former president gave the company tax exemption.
On the relationship of Westwood and Westcoat logistics, he said they are twin companies.
Mr. Panetta informed the commission that he was appointed as first director at the Mineral Company of The Gambia, noting that APAM and KFF had 50% share while Amila got 50%.
A letter from the office of the former president, copied to the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) was also produced and admitted.
Further responding to Mrs. Bensouda, he testified that he did not know why Mr. Hussein registered the company in 2014, however, he said his (Panetta) responsibility was to work with the managing director on the day- to-day activities of the company.
Dwelling on vehicles belonging to Westwood Company, he confirmed that the company used to own 5 vehicles but they were sold to BPI Tourism and Services in June, 2017.
At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda told him that he is required to provide documents relating to the sale of the vehicles, as well as total sums of money paid to KFF, including documents indicating that they were exempted from paying taxes. He was also informed that Mr. Hussein should appear before the commission.
Certificate of business registration, Export Certificate, Memorandum of Article of Association and related documents were admitted in evidence.
Further on the Mineral Company of The Gambia, he said there was an annual report on exploration from Koina and Badari respectively and the equipment at the airport was for the refinery of gold but was quick to add that he would not know the source of the gold.
At this juncture, Commissioner Bai Mass Saine interjected and asked him why they decided to deal with a top military aide of the former president. In response, Mr. Panetta said it was strange to him because in his native country, France, someone close to the government or a military chief is not allowed to do such.
Further responding as to whether the practice of dealing with the ex- general was acceptable, he said it was not his decision.
He finally testified that Foresight Audit Firm’s audited reports for Westwood Company were usually sent to the shareholders of the company. He confirmed that the company owned two dollar accounts at Zenith and Eco Bank respectively.
The outgoing mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council, Yankuba Colley, in his testimony, revealed to the commission that the opposition APRC had never received any funds or grants from KMC for its political activities.
Mr. Colley, who also doubles as the party mobiliser, was summoned by the commission in connection to the refurbishment of the party bureau by Omar Malack and Sons Enterprise which contract he signed on behalf of the party.
According to him, the bureau belongs to AMRC but they were occupying the premises until they were forcefully evicted some time last year.
He said the purpose for the refurbishment was to enable the party to occupy the premises but he could not ascertain whether the party was paying rent since he was not part of the administration. However, he added that AMRC did inform them that they had arrears to settle.
Mr. Colley further revealed that he would not know the source of funds for the contract but believe that it was funded by the party itself.
Colley, however, confirmed the cost of the contract which he said was D1.9 million as well as signing it.
“I don’t know the contractor at the time; it was Jammeh who identified the contractor who was one Omar Malack. I would not know where the contract was signed but I believed it was signed at the Office of the Secretary Genera,l” said Mr.Colley.
He claimed that the party’s source of funds was through membership contribution and fund raising which he spearheaded; adding that ministers, National Assembly Members and mayors’ salaries were deducted as contributions for the activities of their party.
He finally testified that the party had never received any fund or grants from KMC or the Office of the President for its political activities, further noting that he was not aware that the funds used for the refurbishment were public funds given by Taiwan.
Next to testify was Omar Malack, the proprietor of O. Malack and Sons Enterprise, who said he is a contractor and carpenter by profession.
He was summoned to explain the contracts awarded to him by the office of the former president for the renovation of the APRC Bureau at Kanifing and the deputy governor’s residence at Mansakonko in Lower River Region.
Mr. Malack told the commission that he was called by the then secretary general, Ousman Jammeh, for the contracts.
According to him, the contract for the refurbishment of APRC bureau was signed by Yankuba Colley on 8 June, 2010, and the cost of the contracts was D1.9 million which was funded by the Taiwanese government.
He said the contracts were executed, and then produced the certificate of business registration and contract agreements to back up his evidence which were admitted as exhibits. During the course of admitting the documents, Chairman Sourahata Janneh observed that one of the documents bore O. Malack and Sons ‘Ltd.’ and asked him whether he owns any liability company to which he responded in the negative. The chairman then advised him not to use ‘limited’ again hence he does not operate a liability company.
Mr. Malack finally told the commission that he had done other works for the office of the former president and Farato Farms in 2009 which were funded by the former president, Yahya Jammeh.
Hearing continues on Monday 5th of March, 2018.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 02 Mar 2018 : 11:03:21
The Story of a Range Rover.
By Baba Sillah
Aisha Fatty, a socialite and former protocol officer at the Office of the President, has been summoned by the Janneh commission, with regard to a luxury vehicle purportedly given to her by Gen Saul Badjie, who is in exile in Equatorial Guinea with former President Jammeh, The Standard has learned.
Sources close to the commission intimated to this newspaper that Ms Fatty was summoned with regard to the car believed to be a Range Rover, given to her by the exiled general, who was the most powerful person in the country after the president.
Ms Fatty who is the daughter of an imam was once married to a professional footballer. She is now engaged in business
||Posted - 01 Mar 2018 : 17:46:43
We were threatened to be sent to Mile Two Prison, Timber Association Vice Chairman discloses
The Point: Thursday, March 01, 2018
Babucarr Janneh, the vice chairman of the Timber Association, who was assisting the chairman of the said association, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that they were threatened to be sent to Mile Two Prison if their members were found exporting timber.
Lamin Barrow, the chairman of the association, was summoned in connection to Westwood Gambia Ltd.
In his testimony, he told the commission that he knows Westwood company and that his association was formed in 2010, noting that they have a ten-man committee.
At this juncture, statements by the members of the committee were submitted to the commission which were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
According to him, they were informed that Westwood was taking over the importation of timbers, noting that he did not know who was behind this because he was out of the country.
He further testified that they were told that anyone who wanted to export timber should inform the said company, and that this was communicated to his vice chairman, Babucarr Janneh.
Assisting the chairman, Baboucarr Janneh told the commission that in 2014, he was approached by some people including the managing director at Ocean Bay Hotel in a meeting where he was told that they wanted to see those dealing in timber business.
He added that one of the exporters told him that Westwood took over the exportation of timbers and they were charged $ 4,000 and subsequently reduced it to $3, 000.
Mr. Janneh further acknowledged that there was a letter from the Forestry Department which was shown to him, noting that there treasurer had a phone call from General Saul Badjie that if they did not comply they would send some soldiers to arrest them. He disclosed that some Chinese businessmen paid $3,000 to Westwood for exportation of timbers.
At this point, Mr. Barrow came in and told the commission that they sold the timbers to Chinese businessmen who would export them, noting that they paid clearance fees of D9000 in 2010, then D1000 to custom, D2500 to Gambia Chambers of Commerce as members of the chamber and D2500 for bill of laden.
He also said the total payment for the whole transaction was about D12, 000, adding that they would write to the former president to resume operation which was going on-and-off and finally the business closed.
When put to him that the Department of Forestry did not have the authority to lift the ban without the consent of the former president, he responded in the positive.
Next to give evidence was the assistant director of Forestry, Malang Jassey, who was also summoned with regard to Westwood Company.
According to him, he held the position since November 2014 and Muhammad Jaiteh is the director who is currently out of the jurisdiction.
Commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, told him that his director was summoned in relation to the said company. He said he knew the name of the company through their file, stating that the company was authorised by the former president to export timbers.
At this juncture, documents provided by the Department of Forestry were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Mr. Jassey further told the commission that the company owed the Department of Forestry the sum of D2, 580,000 from the years 2014 to 2016 and they exported over eleven thousand of containers.
He stated that he did not see any file indicating that the company was registered.
However, he was told by Counsel Bensouda that the director of Forestry was expected to appear before the commission.
Earlier, the chief finance director of Gamtel, Banding Sillah, also gave evidence in connection to Gamtel gateway contract.
He told the inquiry that he came with two reports, one for 2015 and that of 2016 review relating to the international gateway.
He said MGI-Swiss paid Gamtel $500,000 and the outstanding balance was $1,000,000 from 2015 to 2016.
At this juncture, compliance audit report, statement of accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 28 Feb 2018 : 13:02:02
Kanilai Institute of Technology costs over D47M - Ex-Deputy Speaker reveals
The Point: Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Mrs. Fatou Mbaye, former deputy speaker of the National Assembly, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that the Kanilai Institute of Technology costs the sum of D47, 398,749.75.
She was testifying in connection to Kanilai Institute of Technology which was initiated by the former president.
According to her, the said institute was initiated by the former president purposely to improve the teaching of maths, science and technology in the country. However, she said the name of the institute was initially changed by the former president.
She testified that the former president was invited by Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) and GTTI was to oversee the construction which was awarded to a contractor in 2007.
She added that the contract was signed by GTTI on behalf of the former president, and it was awarded by the former president to one Abdoulie Jaiteh but she was not privy to the said contract; adding that she was not in possession of the bill of quantities and that they could not find any copies at their office, noting that the institute was built at Kanilai.
According to her, the total cost of the contract was D47, 398,749.75. She disclosed that the sum of D37, 189,146 was received from the Taiwanese Embassy in a form of cheques. She said this amount was converted to dollars and there was a shortfall of D10, 000,000.
She disclosed that the cheques received went into the GTTI account and the project did not complete because the contract stopped, noting that the D37, 189,146 did not include the external works, notwithstanding, they continued paying the salary of the night watchman.
Documents relating to the institute together with other relevant documents were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
She finally testified that apart from the extra funding from GTTI, all the funds were from Taiwan and they wrote several letters to the government requesting for the outstanding balance of the contract but to no avail. They refused to build the auditorium because of the incomplete payments owed to them.
Testifying earlier, the managing director of Swami India International Ltd., Khimiji Patel, appeared in connection to the construction of dormitories at Kanilai. He said the cost for the contract was D9.2 million which was funded by Kanilai Family Farms (KFF) but the money was received from Amadou Samba.
At this juncture, he revealed that he had all the payments that went into their account; however, he said he could not remember where all the monies came from and apart from the said contract; they did not do any contract at Kanilai.
According to him, Kanilai International Group bought two storey buildings from his company at Paradise Estate; adding that the storey buildings at the Paradise Estate are called the Toronto Houses. He confirmed that General Saul Badjie did not buy any houses from him neither did the former first lady.
At this juncture, a copy of the sale agreement, a bill of quantities and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted as exhibits. Chairman Sourahata Janneh asked him whether the company was registered and he answered in the positive.
Mrs. Bensouda then asked him to produce the certificate of incorporation of the company. However, Chairman Sourahata Janneh put it to him that the name on the contract was Pigil Patel. In response, he said Patel is the name of his tribe.
Mr. Patel was, however, asked to furnish the commission with the Memorandum and Article of Association, Business Registration Certificate and Tax Clearance respectively.
Augustus Prom Junior, Louise Prom, earlier testified that they did not come across any report that KGI received the Japanese rice. After looking at an audit report, he said it was indicated that KGI owed D26, 462,000 to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Contract agreement between KFF and his company and other relevant documents relating to the contract were admitted in evidence.
Next to testify was Fatou Sinyang Mbergan, sectary general of the Banjul Breweries ltd., who was summoned in connection to Green Industries Company Ltd.
She said the company was engaged in manufacturing clothes among others, and the materials were initially imported. She said she was not privy to the shareholders of the said company, noting that she was appointed as the chairperson of the board of the company.
According to her, she received a letter from former secretary general, Njogou Bah, indicating that she was appointed by the former president to serve as the board chairperson in March, 2009.
She said she did not get the Memorandum of Article of Association, noting that she did not know the owner of the said company but assumed that it was a government company which was a limited liability company.
Mrs. Mbergan further told the commission that the members of the board of the company were one Mustapha Colley, Morr Jobe, Madam Jeg Cham and Antony Carvalho, and Njogou Bah served as secretary to the board.
She testified that they were not officially informed that the company was closed and that all the machineries of the company were dismantled, further noting that they were operating from the July 22nd Park at the airport and had an outlet at Kairaba Avenue.
She disclosed that the said office was allocated to them by the former president and they were not paying rent, stating that they used to receive monies from the office of the former president by transfers into their accounts at Trust Bank.
She said the industries started in 2008 but came on board in 2009, disclosing that they opened an account and the signatories were herself, Mr. Carvalho and Mustapha Colley, noting that the activities of the industry were anchored at GEIPA office.
She further told the commission that the manager, Elizabeth Dambel, was asked to handover to the accountant, Alagie Jaiteh, noting that they had four members as part of the management and the office of the former president was financing the company and funds were from the said office which opened the account.
According to her, they were sending reports to the office of the former president as to how the funds were spent, and that they were not audited but were keeping some minutes of meetings. She said there was some cash at the bank when the company was folded.
She revealed that the sales of the company was D2.3 million from uniforms and contracts, further stating that they were not making payments to the office of the former president.
Mrs. Mbergan finally testified that initially they had 131 employees but it later rose to140 staff before it was folded.
Lamin Camara, permanent secretary No. 2, Ministry of Finance, was summoned in connection to Japanese Food Aid, and testified that his findings revealed that his ministry played a little role in the project and most of the arrangements were between the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Agriculture.
According to him, his ministry was not involved in the Taiwanese grants and this was not normal; adding that resources coming into the country should be well documented. He told the commission that he was not aware that KGI was selling rice from grants given by Japan.
PS Camara, however, testified that despite the fact that his ministry was not involved in the said grants, correspondences between the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and the Prison Department were copied to his ministry. He said it was a challenge for not involving the Finance Ministry in the management or implementation of the bilateral grants from Japan and Taiwan respectively.
He added that their ministry was more engaged in the multilateral funds given by either the World Bank, IMF among others; adding that he was in possession of 20 accounts and the balance in this accounts was D260,000,000 and the sum of D120,000,000 came from the Japanese grant.
At this juncture, documents produced by the witness, such as agreements on the food aid and correspondences between the two ministries and prison department together with list of the 20 accounts were admitted in evidence.
The chief of protocol, office of the former president, Alagie Ousman Ceesay, reappeared in connection to the sum of $4,000,000 he received from Trust Bank on behalf of the former president.
Dwelling on this transaction, he confirmed receiving the said sum and testified that the former president instructed him to receive the money which he said was handed to him. He further confirmed that on the 9th of February, 2009, he received $2,000,000 from the said bank while on the 24th of January, 2011, he received an additional sum of $2,000,000, making it a total of $4,000,000.
Dr. Njogu Bah also reappeared and testified that it was correct that monies from Taiwan were used to renovate the former Taiwanese Embassy at Kanifing South purposely to be used as APRC Political Bureau. He also confirmed the disbursement of $1,000,000 to the Central Bank and over $900,000 to T.K Motors relating to the supply of government vehicles.
Mrs. Bensouda put it to him that at the beginning, the former president was trying to pay back some monies but subsequently withdrew.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 27 Feb 2018 : 12:22:06
‘There was no accountant assigned for the funds’
The Point: Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Njogu Bah, former secretary general and head of the Civil Service, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that there was no accountant assigned for the grants given to The Gambia government by Taiwan.
Dr. Bah reappeared in connection to grants from Taiwan, Green Industries and Kanilai Academy respectively. He testified that he found the said grants already in place when he assumed certain responsibilities.
According to him, the grant existed because of special arrangements the Taiwanese had with the former president for national development. He added that at the beginning, there would be a bilateral meeting between the embassy and the office of the former president, and the embassy would invite them to identify the projects and determine the cost.
He said there was an annual and small grants and the annual grant was $30,000,000 while the small grants was $10,000,000; adding that the small grants were meant for smaller projects which were probably not captured in the annual grant.
Dr. Bah testified that the former president would make proposals, and an approval was made by the embassy but prior to that, the embassy would ask for clarifications in any ambiguous matters which were forwarded to the office of the former president, and they would subsequently draw a budget.
He said once the project was identified, contractors would be involved and the cost would be determined, and a letter would be written by the office of the former president to the ambassador and the funds would be disbursed. However, he said the account was handled by the office of the former president and the Taiwanese Embassy.
At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda asked him whether there was an accounting procedure, and he responded that he did not see any accounting procedure but receipts were attached showing disbursement of funds; adding that it was correct that the Taiwanese grants did not pass through the government accounting system neither was the Ministry of Finance, nor the accountant general were involved.
The former civil service boss revealed that at the end of every year, there would be reconciliation for the disbursement of funds for the projects, further stating that the grants were not audited by the auditor general or external auditors. He said the receipts showing disbursement of funds would also be requested by the embassy for their records and they always ensured that monies presented to the office of the former president were televised.
However, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that the sum of $100,000 and $1,000,000 for the Green Industries were all from the Taiwanese grants. In response, he said the former president came up with the idea and there was a construction at the airport for the operations of the company.
Dr. Bah agreed with Counsel Bensouda that the dormitories at Kanilai were from public funds and he was not aware whether the funds were accounted for. He added that the Kanilai Academy was meant for Science and Technology initiated by the former president and the project was implemented by the Ministry of Higher Education.
Mrs. Bensouda at that point told him that about $3,000,000 was disbursed with regard to the academy while on the recording studio, he said the former president said he wanted to help Gambian artists because they were recording their cassettes in neighbouring countries but there was an issue with that project, as the former president was not happy with the interior of the studio particularly on the designing, and then instructed Gamworks to take over.
Ebrima Cham, director general of GAMWORKS, testified in connection to Kanilai Recording Studio and Conference Centre.
He told the commission that he has been at Gamworks from 2004 to date; adding that he works in the Public Service after his high school.
When asked by Commission Counsel, Amie Bensouda, about his involvement in the said projects at Kanilai, he responded that he met up with Amadou Samba who informed him that the former president wanted him to help with technical assistance on the projects.
According to him, after he spoke with Mr. Samba, he did not hear from him but he (Samba) later called informing him that they wanted a recording studio at Kanilai within the entrance which he said is situated after the guard post on the left side and this was how he got involved.
Mr. Cham told the commission that there was a foundation laying by the former president at his native village and he (Cham) was invited to attend and the office of the former president was supposed to supply materials of the said recording studio while the former president would pay the contractors.
At this juncture, he revealed that the office of the former president gave him cheques for payment to contractors but the contractors were not happy because there was delay for the payments which he told Amadou Samba who also informed the former president.
Documents produced by the witness in connection to bank statements showing deposits of the funds into his personal account at Eco Bank and other related documents were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
According to him, Andaligai Africa Company were contracted with the construction of the Kanilai Recording Studio and Conference Centre and one of the contractors was a French man called Fluor in which Mr. Samba represented Kanilai but the contract was not signed.
He said prior to Andaligai company, the contract was already started by another company which was signed by Amadou Samba on the 28th April, 2008, while he served as a witness.
Asked whether he knew the total value, he responded in the negative; adding that excluding an advance of D1, 265,000 given to the contractor, he said the total cost of the project for both labour and materials was D13.9035M. However, Mrs. Bensouda put to him that the total payments was D30, 001,775 which she said was for labour and materials.
Mr. Cham further confirmed that the sum of D2, 000,000 was disbursed to him by Amadou Samba through cheques which he paid to the contractors of the dormitories.
“As director general of Gamworks, are you allowed to do private work of this nature?” Mrs Bensouda quizzed. In response, Cham said he considered it a voluntary assistance to the former president but he did not sign any contract and there was no indication that the work was not for the state. He said it was not clear to him as well that the projects were funded from public funds neither did he exchange any correspondence regarding the work.
The director general adduced that Mr. Samba told him that the services they needed from him were not for Gamworks but rather they just wanted him to offer some help.
On why he deposited monies into his own account, he said he did not want to keep that huge sum in his office or at home, noting that he made a statement of the expenditure and a bunch of the transactions.
Counsel Bensouda asked him to produce all the accounts he prepared and the sum paid out.
Further testifying, the witness said he did not know the purpose of the Kanilai Studio and the conference centre, adding that he could not remember the total cost of the conference centre.
He told the commission that he did not know either what happened with the dormitories, noting that he did not have anything to do with other works at Kanilai
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda told him that he was required to submit his accounts to the commission. Responding to Mrs. Abiosseh George-Gaye, he testifies that he was not paid for the assistance offered to the former president.
Testifying earlier, Kebba Drammeh, principal record officer, office of the president, reappeared to surrender some files from the office of the former president in connection to the Taiwanese loans. He confirmed the documents he was given to go through relating to Kanilai Recording Studio and conference centre which were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Mr. Ousman Jammeh, also a former secretary general and head of Civil Service, reappeared in connection to the grants from Taiwan and it was brought to his attention that substantial sums to the tune of $350,000 and $1,000,000 respectively were disbursed for a poultry project at Kanilai and some of the requests were signed by him.
In response, he said there was a poultry project initiated by the former president and he understood that the purpose was for food self-sufficiency, noting that Dr. Buba Badjie came with some Swedish nationals and told him that they came to establish a poultry project which was also approved by the Taiwanese embassy.
According to him, the location of the hatchery was at Kanilai and there were certain shipments of containers for the hatchery but the project did not materialise; adding that he did not know whether the former president had access to PEGEP funds.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 23 Feb 2018 : 21:07:39
Mobicell Blue Ocean Wireless Proprietor appears at Janneh Commission
Foroyaa: February 23, 2018
By Mamadou Dem
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.
||Posted - 22 Feb 2018 : 13:46:55
The accounts were in shambles-Ex-Agric Business DG
The Point: Thursday, February 22, 2018
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.
||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
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
||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
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
||Posted - 08 Feb 2018 : 15:19:00
Janneh Commission takes Ex-Gamtel MD to task
The Point: Thursday, February 08, 2018
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
||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
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
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