By Baba Sillah
Karamo Jawara, the principal banking officer at the Central Bank of The Gambia yesterday told the Janneh Commission that the Office of the then President Jammeh has 22 bank accounts at the Central Bank of The Gambia.
Among the bank accounts he recalled were, International Gateway Account, Special Project Vision 2016 account, State Aircraft Special Account, Green Industries Account, Fish Landing Account, the Office of the First Lady, Ministry of Petroleum Account, Special National Security Account and one called SABC Account among others.
However Mr Jawara said some of the accounts were dormant.
He revealed transactions from some of the accounts which include payments to New Africa Magazine for an unspecified reason and the purchase of a VIP red carpet from Morocco, each more than $100, 000.
He said the International Gateway Account, a dollar account, was controlled by the then Office of the President and was opened on 26 September 2013.
He said Nuha Touray and Momodou Sabally were the signatories but Sabally was later replaced by Momodou Sallah in 2015.
Counsel Bensouda at that point applied to tender the change of signatories and opening information of the account from 2013-2014 as exhibits.
According to the CBG official, the total amount deposited into the said account from 2013-2014 was $5,421,732.98 and the amount withdrawn was $5,421,410.61 and the balance left was $292.00.
He said the first withdrawal was $310,000 which was by Momodou Sabally and was received by Momodou Batata Juwara under the directive of Sabally.
The next debit transaction according to him was on 30 September 2013 and the amount withdrawn was $300,109.73 which was received by Momodou Batata Juwara under the directive of former Secretary General, Momodou Sabally.
He said another withdrawal was done on 21 March 2014 amounting to $305,621.80 which was paid to the office of the president under the directives of Momodou Sabally and ex- President Jammeh.
According to him, there was another transaction on the 16th of May, 2014, a withdrawal of $54, 67.45 signed by Jammeh and Sabally respectively.
He said there was a cash payment of $1,000,000.00 to Mr. Sabally but was received by Sanna Jarju.
“On the 13 May, 2014, there was a transaction amounting to $85, 880.08 paid to Competent Company Limited signed by Nuha Touray and Sabally respectively,” Jawara revealed.
Testifying further, the banker revealed that on the 14 May, 2014 a payment of $35,332.61 was paid to FiBank and the beneficiary was Sindola Safari Lodge but the purpose was not stated. He further said on May 14, 2014, $95,000.00 was paid to African Union Broadcasting for FIFA World CUP which was signed by Nuha Touray and Sabally again.
Mr Jawara further recalled that on 21 May 2014 the sum of $750, 000 was paid to Sabally but was received by Buba I Demba on his behalf and on the same date, $100,000.00 was paid to Sabally, which was signed by both Messrs Sabally and Touray but the money was received by Makam SK Bah on behalf of Sabally. He adduced that another $70,000.00 on the same date was paid to Makam SK Bah on behalf of Sabally.
Mr Jawara further adduced that on the 29th of May 2014 the sum of $248,942 was paid to TK Motors signed by Sabally and Touray and on the 4th of June, 2014, $250,000 was received by said Sanna Jarju on behalf of Sabally.
On 10 June 2014, he added, there was a reversal of $44, 633.4 and on the same day $97,209.00 was sent to Gambia Embassy in Washington for maintenance and tuition fees. On the same day he said $9,943 was paid to Yai Conteh for tuition fees which was signed by Sabally and Nuha Touray. He added that on the 17th of June, 2014, $873,362.43 was paid to Makam SK Bah on behalf of Sabally.
Mr Jawara further disclosed that the next transaction was on 24 June 2014 when the sum of $44,633.40 was sent to Washington signed by Sabally and Touray but the purpose was not specified. He said on the 26th of June, 2014, the sum $100,000.00 was paid to Sabally but was received by Nuha Touray.
According to him the on 2 July 2014 the sum of $43, 117.96 was paid to University of The Gambia as students’ tuition fees signed by Nuha Touray.
He further recalled that on 3 July 2014 the sum of $132,669.24 was transferred to Barclay Bank for New Africa Magazine which was signed by Nuha Touray and Momodou Sabaly.
He revealed that on 4 July 2014 the sum of $120,000 was paid to Art Contemporary in Rabat, Morocco for the purchase of VIP carpet for the Office of the then President which according to him was signed by Nuha Touray and Momodu Sabally and after all the transaction on the said account, the balance left was $292.37.
On the account of the Special Project Vision 2016, the Central Bank official recalled that it was opened on 4 July 2014 and the amount deposited was $45,194,083.05 while the amount withdrawn was $45,171,420.05 leaving the balance of $22,623.
Jawara said Jammeh was the sole signatory to this account and the first credit transaction was $1,600,000 but there was nothing on paper to indicate that the Governor of the Central Bank was aware of the opening of this account.
He said the last transaction from this account was on 23 January 2017 and the amount withdrawn was $99,000, however he did not reveal who this money was paid to.
Jawara revealed that there were about hundred and twenty-three withdrawals from the Special Project Fund Account at Central Bank authorized by Jammeh; adding that on the 15th of June, 2014, there was debit of $300,000 signed by Jammeh and received by former Chief Protocol, Sanna Jarju and on 23 June 2014, there was another payment to Sanna Jarju in the sum of $700,000.00 under the instructions of Jammeh.
Mr Jarju is also said to have received $600,000 on the 23rd March, 2014 under the authority of the same person while on the 31 June 2014 there was a cash payment to Nuha Touray amounting to $700,000.00 authorize by Jammeh.
The witness testified that on 31 June, 2014 the sum of $300,000.00, which is equivalent to over 12 million dalasi, was received by Nuha Touray under the authority of Jammeh. He said on the 13 August 2014 the sum of $100,000, equivalent to over 42 million, six hundred thousand dalasi was received by Sanna Jarju as authorized by Jammeh. On August 21, 2014 a request was signed by Abdoulie M Sallah for the disbursement of $1000, 000 out of which $500,000 was for Sierra Leone while the other $500,000.00 was paid to Guinea Conakry during the Ebola outbreak.
However, Jawara said he did not bring along the copies of those transactions but Counsel Bensouda said he should provide them.
Jawara further said on 30 September 2014, there were cash payments to Mr Alhagie Ousman Ceesay, former chief of protocol amounting to $1,000,000; adding that Mr. Ceesay received additional payments of $500,000 on the same date.
He said Mr Ceesay also received payments of $4 69,593.80 and on 8 September 2014 the sum of $700,000 was paid to Mr Ceesay as authorized by Jammeh; adding that on 30 September 2014, the same year another $700,000 was paid to Mr. Ceesay under the same authority. He said on 8 October 2014, Jammeh ordered for Mr. Ceesay to be paid the sum of $300,000.
He said on 14 October 2014, there was an authorization from Jammeh for Mr. Ceesay to receive the sum of $500,000 while on the 3rd of the same month and year, he again requested for Mr. Sanna Jarju to receive $4, 96,841 and on the 3rd of October 2014, there was additional payment of $500,000 to Sanna Jarju.
He said on 27 October 2014, the sum of $200,000 was paid to Mr. Jarju again while on 6 October 2014, the sum of $500,000 signed by Mr Abdoulie Sallah requesting for assistance for the provision of necessary supplies for the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Guinea and there was another disbursement of $1,000,000 which was equally shared between the two countries. He was quick to add that these payments were different from the previous one.
“On the 6 October 2014 $700,000 was paid to Sanna Jarju and on 29 October 2014, the sum of $100,000,000 was paid to General Sulayman Badjie and on 10 December 2014, the sum of $700,000 was paid to Sanna Jarju on the instructions of Jammeh,” he said.
On 8 January 2015, he said a sum of $1,000,000 was further paid to Sanna Jarju under the authority of Jammeh and on 29 January 2015, Jarju received $500,000 while on February 23, 2015, he received another payment of $500,00.
He said on 25 March 2015, the sum of $750,000 was paid to Mr Jarju again.
Jawara is expected to continue his testimony today.