By Omar Bah
The Assistant Director Geological Department, Alieu Jawo has told the Commission of Inquiry into former President Jammeh’s assets that the former president had ignored their advice and went on to issue Alhamdulilai Petroleum Mineral Company, APAM, a license.
Mr Jawo disclosed that when APAM approached their department, which was under the office of the president, expressing their interest in prospecting and mining in the mineral sector, they were advised to bring their business article and MOU of the company and all relevant documents which the company could not provide.
When asked by counsel why they could not get the documents, Jawo said the documents were not surrendered to his department by APAM.
He said due to that, his department in accordance with the mining act scale down APAM’s scope from mining and prospecting to only mining. “We accordingly issued them a prospecting license which is the authority to search for minerals.”
Jawo added that his department were also informed prior to issuing the license that APAM is an extension of the KGI.
He said former President Jammeh issued them a mining license, “even without submitting their business documents to the Geological departments. Jammeh also ignored our instruction for APAM not to be issued a license until they meet the requirements.”
When asked by Counsel Amie Bensouda on what basis where they granted the license without the required documents, Mr Jawo said: “There are some correspondences from the Office of the President by the secretary general Njogu Bah on extension or linkage of APAM to KGI.”
He said the correspondence was made to support the existence or the eligibility of the company, “because all what we want is the legal basis of the company.”
He said after that they received another directive from the office of the president for the license to be issued to APAM as the company required to not only prospect oil but mine mineral as well.
Meanwhile in a subsequent appearance before the commission, Jawo said Apam has shipped 63 000 containers in December and 17 containers in early 2017 without paying any of their obligations to the geology department.
The heavy mineral sands that were exported out of the country were rutile, zircon and ilmenite.
From license fees to 2 years training and institutional development amounting $200, 000 (9, 400, 000), the company owes over 16 million dalasi, based on the information provided by Jawo.
The Commission also heard testimonies from the permanent secretary at the ministry of finance, Abdoulie Bah, with regards to the mining accounts at the Central Bank. Sittings continues.