‘Bulk of Operation Save the Children funds transferred abroad’


By Baba Sillah

Former Gambian diplomat and Minister of Tourism and Culture, Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie yesterday reappeared before the Janneh Commission to testify about the Operation Save the Children Foundation account which was initiated by the former president, Yahya Jammeh.

Mrs Njie who was the chief executive director and member of the foundation’s board, explained that most of the funds raised by the Foundation through public donations were spent outside the country and only $25,000 was spent on children despite the significant amount of funds donated by public institutions.
According to her, the foundation was constituted by the former president in November 2014 as an NGO and she was appointed as the chief executive director of the foundation. She said a letter she signed was sent to the managing director of Trust Bank for the opening of an account.


She told the inquiry that the office was headquartered at the State House and the former First Lady Zineb Jammeh was the chairperson but she said the office was handled by a permanent secretary, office of the former first lady before she became part of the foundation.
Mrs Njie, who was also a former Gambian ambassador to Malaysia, further testified that by the time she was appointed as the chief executive director of the foundation, there was a constitution but no guidelines or strategy that could guide the foundation but she made sure everything was in place to guide the foundation in its activities.
However, she said she would not know whether the constitution of the foundation was amended.
Mrs Njie at that point told the inquiry that though she did not have her letter of appointment as the chief executive director of the foundation but has her letter of acceptance and other documents.
Mrs Njie also confirmed that significant source of the foundation’s funds which amounted to the sum of $450,000 came from public institutions.

According to her, all the funds donated into the foundation’s dollar account were transferred abroad.
Mrs Njie said she would not know whether the constitution of the foundation was registered neither did she know whether the account was audited.

She said she was not aware of being a board member of the foundation until she went through a certain document which was signed by someone on her behalf.
Meanwhile, in a similar but substantive matter, the Commission has admitted the case files of the late Baba Jobe and Ansumana Jammeh.

The case file of Baba Jobe which was tendered by the Commission Counsel, Amie Bensouda through the registrar general of High Court, Mariama Ceesay-Mboob containing two affidavits, a warrant for the forfeiture of property as well as the proceedings.
Mrs Mboob however said she would not know whether the properties of Ansumana Jammeh were forfeited as ordered by the court.