By Omar Bah
Pa Modou Mbowe, a key member of the APRC splinter group, has alleged that former president Yahya Jammeh had complained about the executive’s lack of transparency and accountability over monies he gave to them.
Last week, Jammeh announced he had replaced the FTJ-led executive for joining President Barrow’s NPP without his permission.
He also announced the APRC is now working with Gambia Alliance for National Unity (Ganu) led by Sheikh Tijan Hydara. Many wondered why the former president made such a dramatic move.
But according to Mbowe, the FTJ-led executive’s failure to account for D3.5 million given to them by Jammeh in 2017 may be part of the reasons he fell out with them.
Mr Mbowe, who was speaking to Star FM’s Pa Nderry Touray in an interview to be aired this morning, alleged that Jammeh gave FTJ’s executive the money to contest the last National Assembly elections and that he instructed them to contest all the parliamentary seats across the country.
“But they just went and put up candidates in the Fonis and few other places just to fool Jammeh and used the rest of the money on their personal business. They also held several rallies and sold party T-shirts, asobeee and even raffle tickets amounting to millions of dalasis,” he said.
Mr Mbowe further alleged: “When Jammeh asked them to produce financial statements and audit reports to explain how they spent the money, they couldn’t produce it and they stopped picking his calls. This is why Jammeh stopped calling them. They are not transparent. This is why Jammeh decided to find some other people to send money to for the running of the party who account for the funds as spent.”
The Standard contacted the FTJ-led APRC, whose deputy spokesman Dodou Jah, said: “That is not true. The money he is claiming is not D3.5 million but D3 million and contrary to what Mbowe is saying, there was an audit done on how it was spent and the audit outcomes were read out during the party’s 2018 congress by the auditors themselves.”
Jah added: “When the money was given, I was not part of the executive at the time as I came in late 2017 when Seedy Njie left to join Barrow. I learned about it during one of our meetings in Bwiam. At that meeting, the executive explained how they spent the money.”
Jah said D900,000 out of the D3 million was used to pay lawyers for the APRC supporters who were arrested during the Kanfenda incident.
“The balance was used during the parliamentary elections and it was not even enough, which is why we couldn’t put up candidates in all the constituencies. I remember during the nominations, the APRC women mobiliser Isatou Jifanga lent the party some money,” he said.
Mr Jah further clarified that at the 2018 Bwiam congress “a financial report was given on how that money was spent and all other expenditures. Pa Mbowe was not there but that was done”.
“In terms of the asobee the party has not made millions from selling them because even the asobee were not paid for. We still have cases pending and at some point, we even suggested to take these people to police,” Jah added.
He said since 2017, the APRC has been surviving on contributions and diaspora donations and all those who contributed were given receipts.
“We are very transparent and accountable with our dealings. And even in 2019, we hired a private firm to audit the party’s accounts,” he noted.
Jah said he cannot tell whether Jammeh has requested for the audits report of those monies or not but the records are there.
He said since 2017, Jammeh has not sent money to the party.
Meanwhile, commenting on Jammeh’s decision to ask the APRC to work with Ganu, Mr Mbowe said: “I was very surprised about [Jammeh’s decision] to pick Ganu. I was expecting him to pick Mamma Kandeh because Mamma Kandeh himself once said if APRC had a brother or child, it is GDC because he was with the APRC and served as NAM for ten good years.
“There are people within the group still looking forward to that and we don’t rule that out. We are not closing our doors to any party, especially the likes of GDC, PDOIS, Essa Faal or even the UDP. We are ready to work with any party to remove this government but we are going to take everything one step at a time,” he said.
Mbowe said Jammeh had never given them any hint that he was going to recommend for them to join Ganu.
However, he was quick to say that they are happy to work with Ganu as instructed by Jammeh.
“There is nothing wrong with him and we are looking forward to working with him because even if Jammeh had asked us to work with Essa Faal, we would have done exactly that without hesitation,” Mbowe said
Mbowe said the FTJ-led executive betrayed Jammeh by going into an alliance with the NPP without seeking his consent.
“You cannot enter an agreement and keep it a secret,” he chastised.
He said the fact that FTJ met Barrow in 2017 clearly demonstrated that the party was “sold out” to Barrow a long time ago.