By Baba Sillah
Businessman Amadou Samba yesterday continued with his evidence before the Janneh Commission refuting once again any claim that he was a close associate of the former President Yahya Jammeh.Asked by Commissioner Saine how often he used to communicate on phone with former President Jammeh, Samba said Jammeh used to call him two to three times a day usually on social issues.“My relationship with Yahya Jammeh was more on the phone than meeting him personally and he never visited me at my house.
He used to invite me to his birthdays in his house together with others as a guest,” he said.When asked by Commissioner Saine whether he is the sole owner of the compound at South Atlantic road in Fajara, he responded in the affirmative, noting that he acquired that property at a tune of $475, 000 from one Lebanese in 1994. He said it is correct that he did endorse some of the properties acquired by the former president because Jammeh asked him to do so.According to him, he played a pivotal role between the two former presidents, Jawara and Jammeh and was even the one who travelled to UK to bring Jawara back to the country.On the ownership of Excel Construction Company, Samba said he owns 40% while Patrick Ricchatti and his son Kabba Samba each owning 30%.
He said the Company is in operation and after the 30 December 2014 attack, Jammeh requested for the fencing of the State House which contract was given to Excel. According to him, the job Jammeh wanted needed specific skills and materials which a French contractor was initially contracted for.The contract awarded to Excel, according to him, was in three phases and the first involved the payment of D11, 766,012 while the second phase of the contract amounted to D21, 324,470 and there is outstanding sum of D2, 180,000 which triggered them to stop the work after completing 85% of the work contracted to them.Earlier in his testimony while reacting to the testimony of Momodou Lamin Sonko, the country coordinator of MA Kharafi on the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel, he said Sonko’s testimony was an afterthought and deviated from his testimony.
He said he has listened to the evidence of Mr Sonko whom he said was trying to manufacture evidence and appealed to the Commission for Mr Sonko to produce documents that he was alleged to have signed with regard to the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel.“There is nothing like Amadou Samba in the sale agreement of the hotel and I never went to Standard Chartered Bank with Mr Sonko with regard to the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel,” he said.Mr Samba at that point tendered deeds of assignment on the sale of the hotel which he said was prepared by commission counsel, Amie Bensouda and was admitted as exhibit.
Mr Samba said the document will show the history of the hotel since he has earlier told the commission that it was on liquidation at the time of sale.According to him, Baba Jobe was dealing with Robert Aswandi, the former manager of the hotel and Baba was answering to the former president which he said indicated that the hotel belonged to Jammeh because Baba did not have money to buy the hotel.“I have never discussed the sale of the hotel with the ex-president but I remembered Robert Aswandi called me on two occasions during the sale of the hotel on the stocks and mortgage of the hotel and apart; from that I knew nothing about the hotel,” Mr Samba added.