By Aisha Tamba
Businessman Mam Sait Njie told the TRRC yesterday that former president Yahya Jammeh who was “more than a gangster” jailed him after extorting D30 million from him.
He said he gave the money to him in two installments and that the president demanded payment of the second installment four months earlier than agreed because the first lady was to travel.
In a testimony that commission chairman Lamin Sise decribed as “extraordinary”, Mr Njie explained how President Jammeh summoned him and demanded to be bribed with 300 plots out of the 900 he [Njie] was allocated before sanctioning a joint venture between Mr Njie and the state pension and housing fund SSHFC for the development of a low-cost housing project in Makumbaya, Kombo North.
He said Jammeh later compelled SSHFC to buy the plots for D30 million which was paid into Mr Njie’s Trust Bank account, withdrawn and handed over to General Saul Badjie for onward transmission to the president.
He said the total sum for the 3,700-unit project was D470 million with SSHFC owing 70% of the remaining 30%.
He said after Jammeh received the money, he sacked the SSHFC boss and appointed someone who was not keen on the project and the stipulated project period elapsed.
A lands commission set up later ordered him to return the land to the villagers and SSHFC demanded the return of the D30 million.
Subsequently, he was charged with economic crimes for failing to pay capital gains tax, tried and convicted to a nine-year jail term of which he served six months and released.
Mr Njie later took SSHFC to court and the matter is before the courts.