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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

‘Jammeh thought he owns everything’

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By Baba Sillah

Njogu Bah, a former powerful secretary general at the office of the President has, on his second appearance before the Janneh Commission, said his boss former president Yahya Jammeh had thought that he owned everything.

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Mr Bah further claimed that the former president was a very difficult man and that it was difficult to advise him.
He gave evidence with regard to the accounts he was signatory to while in office.
On the tax recovery account, Bah confirmed that he was a signatory to the account and that account came after the report by the tax commission chaired by Mama Fatima Singhateh recommended for the opening of the account at the Guaranty Trust Bank which was even approved by the then president.

According him he advised the president for the account to be handled by the Ministries of Justice, Finance and the Gambia Revenue Authority but Jammeh insisted that the account should be opened and monitored by the office of the president.

Upon opening the bank account, Mr Bah said the bank requested for signatories and after informing the president he was asked to be signatory to the account as well as Jammeh himself noting that after monies were withdrawn from the account, he ended up having problems with Jammeh.
On the withdrawal of the sum of D10, 000, 000, Bah said a cheque was sent to him for the rehabilitation of prison which was financed by the GNPC but he later handed over the cheque to the president and could not recall who actually withdrew the cash.

He also confirmed being a signatory to the mobilization account together with Mambury Njie and Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie which he said was brought to their attention and the source of fund was from the Ministry of Finance.
He further confirmed that there was also an account called state aircraft and recalled that he once travelled with Mambury Njie to Qatar soliciting funds for the aircraft and later found that it was funded by Qatar but did not know how monies were sent into the account.

Meanwhile prior to giving his evidence Bah was reminded by the commission chairman, Sourahata Janneh to name those he considered be the close associates of Jammeh.
Mr Bah took a long pause and replied he did not know the close associates of Jammeh. He said there are security reasons too because unlike members of the commission who are protected, witnesses are not and that can have effect.

However commission chairman insisted and Mr Bah named Muhammad Bazzi, Amadou Samba, Mr Ali and some investors from abroad including Gambians.
Next to appear was Fatou Lamin Faye, former minister of Basic and Secondary Education whose testimony mainly centred on the mobilisation account.
Ms Faye said she was a signatory to only this account throughout her tenure as minister claiming that it was a special assignment given to them to be signatories to the account.

According to her, the mobilisation was a special assignment given to them for the visit of the Nigerian president and she happened to be part of the organising committee. The longtime former minister however acknowledged that D22, 200, 000 which was deposited into the account was managed by her and has accounted for it but could not account for a sum of three million dalasi. The witness was asked to liaise with Momodou Sabally in order to give account for it.
Next to be called was Momodou Sabally who was also questioned on the mobilization account and the international gateway account.

Sabally said as secretary general, he became signatory by default but whatever Fatou Lamin Faye said he would go by that because he could not recall all the transactions by heart and could not say specifically how this account was managed.
Mr Sabally acknowledged that he had authorised for the transaction of $610,000 which was to be handed over to the president but could not remember who actually handed over the cash to the president which according to him, could be known through witnesses who come to testify.
He claimed that he would not know how monies were handed over to Jammeh.

Sabally said he would not speculate because he knew that Jammeh was a very complex person and also knew that the commission is legally constituted which he was very mindful, noting that he had written a memo with regard to the Tobaski ram sell which the former president was accustomed to and the amount was $610,000 but has no connection with the president’s selling of the rams.
Sabally said he believes he was not unpatriotic regarding those transactions because they were dealing with a very powerful man who had no regard for the Constitution.
Sitting continues today.

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