Amadou Samba faces commission

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Amadou Samba, a businessman, who was accompanied by family members and relatives, yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission.

His counsel, Lawyer Mary Samba, rose and told the commission that she was representing Mr Samba.

However, she raised some legal issues concerning the order made by the commission to restrains Mr Samba.

She said she had written to the commission regarding the order it made which was published by “The Point, and “The Standard” newspapers restraining her client.

She adduced that her client was served with a summon to appear before the commission, and was required to testify in relation to Euro Africa Group.

Counsel Samba argued that her client did not have the opportunity to hear the testimonies of the witnesses, adding that he was not also given the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses.

She posited that it was the constitutional right of her client to be heard.

At this juncture, she referred to the constitution to support her argument, and she also referred to term of reference of the commission.

She further posited that the commission does not have the mandate to make the order it has already issued, adding that it should make recommendations but not an order.

She therefore urged the commission to discharge the said order published in the newspapers.

The lead counsel then rose and said that the interpretation made by Mr Samba’s counsel was misconceived.

She gave an example of the high court which has the power to make an interim order without the part being heard, adding that this does not make the order unconstitutional and this was what the commission should consider.

The lead counsel then referred the commission to clause 3 of its term of reference to support her argument.

She further argued that every person who comes to the commission is a witness, adding that Mr Samba has been named as close associates of the former president.

She stated that what was relevant was the evidence before the commission that they were substantiated, adding that the commission has the power to make the order without hearing the other party.

She further adduced that the commission is not a court and has its mandate, further noting that the commission was not constrained by what has been said in public.

“The interim order should be given the interpretation in the context it is written,” she argued.

She posited that there was nothing sufficient before the commission to set aside or vacate its order.

At this juncture, Lawyer Mary Samba rose and told the commission that if the lead counsel said that the order does not affect her client, then it was fine.

Ruling would be on October 30.

Amabou Samba then testified as saying that he knew the former president since 1994 through Pierre Kujabi, a Senegalese architect.

He posited that he started interacting with the former president when he started his business.

Mr Samba further stated that he did the Serrekunda Hospital, and the airport as well.

He said that people were saying that the former president was giving him contracts and this was why he closed his company.

He testified that he owned shares at Gacem, and that his percentage was 50% and Mr Bazzi also had 50% share.

He disclosed that he sold part of his share and was left with 20%.

Mr Samba stated that he has 12% at GTBank, and that Gamwater is not operating, because they used to run at a loss.

He adduced that every time the former president would ask him to give him some bottles of water when he had programmes.

He disclosed that he has 30% share in another company for refinery for vegetable oil, adding that Muhammed Bazzi received Hussein Zenedin’s share because they were frustrated.

It was put to him that there was a directive from the Office of the former President to pay his company, Gamveg, a sun of $700,000.

In response, he stated that he was not put in the picture when $700,000 was paid to Gamveg, adding that he and Mr Bazzi each had 50% share at the company.

Mr Samba further testified that he was not involved in the management of Gamveg, adding that Fadi Mazegy was the managing director of the company.

At this juncture, documents relating to his business and business partners were tendered and admitted in evidence.

It was put to him that there was a loan facility of $200,000 but he said he was not aware, adding that he was a signatory to the account where the loan was withdrawn but he had never signed a cheque or transfer.

Mr Samba adduced further that he had never received a bank statement from the said account, adding that there was never a board meeting at Gamveg, and that they realized that there was a competition and they decided to stop the business.

He said he would not know whether the $700,000 was refunded, adding that Gamveg was responsible for paying back the money.

Author: Dawda Faye