Ex-VP says she was never a signatory to gov’t accounts

By Baba Sillah

Former Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy yesterday told the Janneh Commission that she was never a signatory to any government account in her capacity as vice president.

Mrs Njie-Saidy was summoned with regard to the Operation Save The Children Foundation account. After giving a rundown of her career starting from the 1970s as a school teacher to her appointment as vice president, she told the inquiry that she was the vice chairperson of the foundation.

On the legality of the establishment of the Office of the First Lady where the foundation was set up, she said it was within the Office of the President.

She said the first lady is not appointed but has a budget allocated to her, which is approved by the National Assembly.

Asked by Commission Counsel, Amie Bensouda how she became a signatory to the foundation’s accounts, she responded that forms were sent to her by the former first lady through the office of the former president and by virtue of her position as the vice chairperson of the foundation, she offered herself to become a signatory to the account and a board member.

Further testifying before the inquiry, she recalled that she was never a signatory to any of government account as the then vice president due to her busy schedules.

Madam Njie-Saidy also pointed out to the inquiry that the foundation was not under her office but confirmed signing certain documents for withdrawal of cash, which according to her, was for an event organised by the former first lady who was not in the jurisdiction at the time.

She said: “If I were the first lady, I would not operate a private office in a public office or use public funds, which to me is unethical. But the first lady was not at her liberty to operate her private foundation outside since her husband was the president.”

Meanwhile, commission sittings have been adjourned to Thursday 15.

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