By Baba Sillah
A former finance Minister of former President Yahya Jammeh, Dominic Mendy yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission to shed light on the lifting of crude oil agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and The Gambia which he was given a power of attorney to sign on behalf of the Gambia.
Mr Mendy told the commissioners that since there was no additional budget support, the former president deemed it prudent to approach the former Nigerian President Sani Abacha for the provision of crude oil in the mid 1990s.
According to him, it was for this reason that the former president issued him a power of attorney to sign the agreement on behalf of The Gambia which he said he thought was about 200,000 metric tons.
However according to Mr Mendy, the agreement he signed was not submitted to the cabinet at the time he was minister and he was not aware of any revenue generated after the lifting of the crude oil.
He explained that the former government was supposed to put mechanism in place and also appoint an agent for the dispensation of the fuel.
He recollected that on 22 July, 1999, his services were terminated and the late Foday Barry of NIA went to his house and informed him that Jammeh wanted him to represent him at an arbitration in London which he said he did not know anything about.
Next to testify was the Managing Director and the Deputy of Gambia Ports Authority, Abdoulie Tambadou and Ousman Jobarteh, who were summoned in connection with the construction of a hostel at the University of Regional Maritime in Ghana in which the GPA contributed funds.
The deputy MD, Mr Jobarteh told the inquiry that in 2008, the board of governors of regional maritime in Ghana made a report on the University and opted for the construction of the hostel for students including Gambians.
He said the board comprises Anglophone countries within West Africa which The Gambia pledged to support for the funding and the total cost for the project was $750,000 out of which, GPA contributed over $278,000 while the Government of The Gambia contributed over $100,000.
According to him, a letter was addressed to GPA from the office of the former president asking them to pay 40,000 Ghanaian Cedis as their contribution for the construction of the hostel.
Mr Tambadou however said he was not the MD at the time this matter was executed by the Ports.
Mr Jobarteh also confirmed the payment of over $1.7 million by the then Taiwanese Embassy for the maintenance of ferries.
Correspondences together with other relevant information and documents were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Hearing continues today.