By Baba Sillah
Sana Sabally, the vice chairman of the AFPRC military junta, has been summoned by the commission of inquiry probing the financial activities of former President Jammeh and his close associates.
Sources close to the commission have revealed to The Standard that the former army captain was summoned with regard to the US$35 million loan given by Taiwan to the then cash-strapped military government in 1995.
Sabally, a native of Cassakunda, west of Brikama, left The Gambia finally resettling in Germany after he was released from prison. He was accused by President Jammeh of plotting to kill him and spent a decade incarcerated at the state central prisons located in the approaches of Banjul. Sabally is said to have been studying medicine or nursing at a German college. His close friend and former Interior Minister Sadibou Haidara, with whom he was jailed, died in prison. He was regarded as a trigger-happy mad cap during the period he served as vice head of state.
Bala Jassey, the CEO of Mobicell Blue Ocean Wireless company as well as partner of Multimedia Gateway Incorporation (MGI) yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission in connection with MGI-Swiss’ management of the Gamtel international telecoms gateway.
Jassey, a native of Kiang, told the commission that he is a telecom and IT expert with 20 years experience but had never worked in the public service.
According to him, MGI and Mobicell are limited liability companies but separate entities, noting that Mobicell is an IT telecom company that focuses more on telecom services. He told the inquiry that he owns 95% share in Mobicell while his wife, Rabiatou Fatty owns 5% share. At that juncture, he produced 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.
He said Mobicell and MGI had contracts for the management of the international gateway. However, he said MGI-Swiss gave technical support to MGI-Gambia and Mobicell for the management of the gateway.
He said the management of the Gamtel gateway was outsourced to his company MGI who paid its staff on the ground but was not managing the gateway directly.
Commission counsel, Amie Bensouda asked him to furnish the commission with financial transactions, including invoices they submitted to the Swiss company.
On the management of the Gamtel gateway, he said both companies participated in the international gateway. At that point, Commissioner Saine interjected and asked him why Mobicell and MGI were not merged as one company; he responded that due to the nature of their profession, couple with specialty, the companies could not be amalgamated.
The telecom expert also informed the inquiry that at times, he referred to MGI for the implementation of projects that were not suitable for Mobicell, adding that initially he used Mobicell as a telecom consultancy company before it got involved in implementing projects.
He said the reason for not involving Mobicell in the implementation of projects then was because the required experts were limited or lacking but adequate expertise has been absorbed.
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.
According to him, 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 while Mobicell was involved in October, 2014 agreement for The Gambia.
Mr Jassey at that point produced a document that covered their relationship with MGI-Swiss in order to substantiate his evidence, further stating that he knew the said company through one British national whom he had a contract with in 2010.
In response to a question by Commission Chairman, Sourahata Janneh, Mr Jassey said he had to resign from Cisco Inc. and return to The Gambia to engage in consultancy services for Standard Chartered Bank, GT Bank, Trust Bank and Gambia Police Force among others.
Sitting continues Monday.