By Baba Sillah
Prominent businessman Amadou Samba yesterday testified at the Janneh Commission. In response to a question posed by counsel assisting the commission, Mr Samba said he came to know former president Yahya Jammeh in 1994 through Pierre Goudiaby, the renowned Senegalese architect whom Jammeh met on a visit to Dakar.
According to Mr Samba, the new airport terminal building was designed by Mr Goudiaby as well as the Arch 22 edifice which he built with Bwiam General Hospital.
Mr Samba said he also built the Serekunda General Hospital and the Supreme Court complex.
The state lawyer turned business mogul further said he owned 50% in the Gacem cement company but later divested part of his shares and now owns 20%. He said he also owns 12% shares in Guaranty Trust Bank.
He said he used to own Gamwater but the company is no longer in operation and is sold.
On Gamveg Oil Company in which he owns 50 percent, Mr Samba said it was a joint venture with Mohamad Bazzi.
He clarified that despite owning half of the company, he was never involved in its management or financial transactions until it was closed..
“I was a signatory to the Gamveg account but I have never signed any cheque and I was never involved in the management nor its financial transaction and I have never seen the bank statement even though I was a director of the company. There was never a board meeting and I would not know whether
[any loan taken were refunded] or not because I was not involved in the transaction,” Mr Samba told the Janneh Commission.
He said the people who were mentioned in the letter addressed to the SSHFC from the Office of the President should be responsible for the loan since he was not involved in the negotiation and that was the reason he never bothered himself to check but he said the company should be responsible for the loan.
Mr Samba said he was not pleased when he heard that Bazzi had negotiated with the former president for him to take over Gamveg Oil Company and that he did not know anything about the negotiations over the sale agreement.
Earlier, Lawyer Mary Samba, counsel for Mr Samba appealed to the Janneh Commission to rescind the interim order on his client’s assets, saying the commission had no mandate to freeze the assets of Mr Samba.
Moving her motion before the commission yesterday, lawyer Mary Samba argued that her client should have been given the benefit of the doubt while citing Section 24 of the Constitution to strengthen her submission which she said guarantees free and fair hearing.
Counsel Samba at that point referred the commission to its terms and mandates as dictated by the Constitution, saying the commission should have made recommendations and not an order at this point and she appealed to the commission to discharge the interim order.
Reacting to the application, Commission counsel Amie Bensouda submitted that the order was misinterpreted by the counsel, adding that the powers of the commission are stipulated in the Constitution as the same power vested in the judges of the high court.
According to her, what the commission needs to look was whether enough material was being placed before the commission and not the issue of fair hearing as submitted by lawyer Samba.
According to her, the commission has sufficient reasons to make the interim order arguing that there was no sufficient reason before the commission to set aside the order it has made.
After hearing from both parties, commission chairman Sourahata Janneh set aside 30 October for ruling on the interim order.
Meanwhile The Standard is reliably informed that there will be no sitting today as the commission will embark on a site visit in Kanilai.