Kairaba Hotel remains gov’t property – Bensouda

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By Baba Sillah Continuing her summing of evidence before the Janneh Commission, Counsel Amie Bensouda yesterday said that the Kairaba Beach Hotel is still the property of The Gambia Government as the sale agreement between MA Kharafi and government was fraudulent . She went on to justify this claim by explaining that the late Baba Jobe had directed the Central Bank of The Gambia to transfer US$5 million from ‘3M account’ even though there was no evidence before the inquiry to show that Mr Jobe was a signatory to the account. She asked the commission to determine whether MA Kharafi had put himself in the position of purchaser at the time. Counsel Bensouda contended that monies were fraudulently withdrawn from Central Bank to purchase the hotel and as such the statute of limitation has not run out regarding the sale and that the commission should determine that Kairaba Hotel remains the property of the state. She also urged the commission to “carefully look” at the issues relating to Sindola Safari Lodge in Kanilai to determine whether it is the property of the state. Drawing the attention of the commission to the mining activities, she submitted that the evidence before the commission showed various licences were issued for mining in The Gambia with the main licence issued to Carnegie Mineral Company. According to Counsel Bensouda, Mr Muhammad Bazzi confirmed introducing a group of investors to the former president who made a presentation to him. She further submitted that the former president at the time knew how much resources were generated by Carnegie Mineral. The lead counsel at that point questioned why Mr Bazzi would be paid over 9 million pounds sterling when he claimed he had no interest in the company, arguing that the standard of probability is in the balance, citing relevant law authorities to back her point of contention. Going further in her address, she argued that Mr Bazzi had more knowledge about the contract between The Gambia and Carnegie Mineral and was aware of the damages to the state. She also blamed the former president for not following due procedures in issuing licence to the company and urged the commission to determine whether Mr Bazzi also played a role in the damage incurred. She contended that Mr Bazzi has not produced documents to show the equipment left behind by Carnegie Mineral which were taken over by Gamico. According to Counsel Bensouda, APAM was issued licence by Jammeh when it has no mining prospect and licence to operate, adding that Tony Ghattas was appointed as the managing director. She drew the attention of the commission to the various payments made by Mr Ghattas to various]]>

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