As Janneh Commission resumes, Trust Bank MD testifies

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Mr. Ebrima Sallah, managing director, Trust Bank Gambia Ltd., yesterday reappeared before the Janneh Commission in connection to numerous accounts, namely MYJ Family Trust, United States Dollar Account, President Empowerment for Girls Education (PEGEP) Current and Saving Dalasi accounts, as well as dollar denomination accounts, Higher Education Support account and Operation Save the Children account among others.

According to him, the MYJ account was opened on the 11 August, 2010, and the signatory was Ahmed Hodrog and the last transaction was on the 16 September, 2010, with a total deposit of $4,104,000 while the balance was $386.19. He said all funds were transferred to Paragon Title and SECON COMPANY.

At that juncture, Commission Counsel, Amie Bensouda, told Mr. Sallah to assist the commission with the source of these funds. However, he responded that all payments were cash and one of them was made by Ahmed Hodrog on the 19 August, 2010, to the tune of $1,000,000.

He disclosed that the first credits into this account were on the 13th of August, 2010, in the sum of $800,000, $125,000 and $75,000 respectively but there was no indication as to who made the deposits. He added that on the 17th of August 2010, there was a Telex transfer of $1,000,000.

On 20 August, 2010, he said there was a deposit of $1,000,000 by Mr. Hodrog while on the 23 August, Hodrog deposited the sum of $500,000, and further adding that on the 25 August, 2010, there was a transfer of $1,500,000 to the same company authorised by Mr. Hodrog.

The Trust Bank DM further testified that on the 2 September, 2010, there was a deposit of $1,000,000 and a transfer of another $1,000,000 on the 7 September, 2010, to the same company. He added that there was a deposit of $300,000 on the 8th of September, the same year. There was a foreign transfer of $200,000 to the same person (Hodrog), he said. He further stated that there was another transfer of $62, 610 on the same day.

He disclosed that on 13th September 2010, there was a deposit of $ 270,000 and another deposit of $30,000 by Ahmed Hodrog and the beneficiary was Ali Muhammmed Hijasy. He further adduced that the sum of $4,000 was the final credit and there was a final debit of $100.

Relevant documents relating to the accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits

On the President’s Empowerment for Girls Education Project (PEGEP), he stated that there was a Dalasi current account and a Dollar denominated saving accounts. He explained that both accounts have the same signatories and the account was opened on the 16 October 2002.

He revealed that the signatories to the Dalasi account were the former president and Mambury Njie, then permanent secretary, office of the former president, and that there were various signatories over the period.

Mr. Sallah told the commission that in July 2005, there was a deposit of D 102,771.44 and the last transaction was on 15th January, 2016, with the sum of D19, 801.16, further testifying that it was a corporate account and the purpose was for educational project.

According to him, there was a total debit of D5, 355,166.01 into the account and the last transaction to the account was on 5th April, 2017, to the tune of D10, 538.93 while there was another transfer of D3, 785,000, leaving a balance of D95.92.

According to Mr. Sallah, the Dollar account was opened on the 16 April, 2003, and the signatories were the same as that of the Dalasi account. He said that the first transaction was $4,784,478.30 and the last transaction was to the tune of $50,000, leaving a balance of $15,008.85.

On the Higher Education Support account, Sallah said it was opened with Dalasi account on the 16 June, 2009, and that there was a credit of D10, 000 while there was a debit of D9, 475 and the signatories were Abdoulie Sallah and Njogu Bah; adding that there were only two transactions on this account.

He further revealed to the commission that on the Higher Education Support Account, the first Dollar account was opened on the 16 of June, 2009, with a total credit of $3,914,653.82 and the last transaction was $1020, and the source of funding was from the Republic of China on Taiwan.

On the second Dollar account, he alluded that it was opened on the 11 August, 2011, with a credit of $71,093.30 and the last transaction was $10,483.13 and there was a balance of $4,438.02.

The last account he dwelled on was Operation Save the Children Account which he said was a Dalasi current account and there was a total credit of D18, 288,137.60 while the last transaction was on the 5 April, 2017, subject to frozen order.

He said the former vice president and former first lady were the signatories to the account and the sum of D48, 128.69 was the balance before the frozen order and the signatories did not change.

At that juncture, transaction documents as well as statement of accounts and account opening package were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Next to testify was Dominic Gomez, head of Finance, Zenith Bank Gambia Ltd., who informed the commission that the MD of the Bank was out of the jurisdiction; adding that he has served the bank for 7 years.

According to him, the bank started operating on the 18 January, 2010, and it was correct as alluded by counsel that he was summoned in relation to JFP Dalasi account, MALIGAM International Accounts among others.

On Jammeh Foundation for Peace account, he said it was opened on the 20 December, 2012, and the signatories were Nancy Seedy-Njie and Ardy Sarge and the total credit into the account was D2, 849,906.50 and a debit of D2, 848,190.78 and there was a balance of D3, 234.28, and then on the 22th of March, 2016, the account was dormant.

On the MALIGAM International account, he revealed that Ansoumana Jammeh and Amadou Barry were partners and Mr. Jammeh, according to him, was the chairman and MD of the company but when he was appointed as ambassador to Qatar, he handed over to Sanna Bah as MD.

At that juncture, the witness disclosed numerous MALIGAM accounts namely MALIGAM International Operation account, MALIGAM International Project account and MALIGAM International IPS account but was quick to add that all these accounts are dormant and frozen.

Documents relating to these accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Mr. Abdoulie Cham, finance director, Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, while testifying again, confirmed the purchase of 20 villas from TAF Holding Ltd. out of which he said 17 were sold to the former government at a loss, while they sold 3 to AGIB, ACCESS and GTBank respectively to the tune of over D4, 000,000 per villa.

According to him, he did not see any correspondences from the office of the former president given directives for the purchase of the villas. However, he said this was a decision from the then management and it was meant for investment purposes.

Correspondences between SSHFC, TAF Holding Ltd. and the Ministry of Finance with regard to the purchase of the 20 villas were admitted as exhibits. On the loan facility of KGI amounting to $2,000,000, the witness said there  was an outstanding interest of over D7,740,000 due to be paid by Guaranty Trust Bank.

Mustapha Njie, the proprietor and managing director of TAF Holding was summoned in relation to the sale agreement of the villas between SSHFC and his company. He disclosed to the commission that out of the 44 AU villas, 20 were sold to SSHFC.

Documents relating to the sale agreement were also admitted in evidence as exhibits.

Sittings continue today.

Author: Dawda Faye