Commission recalls finance permanent secretary

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Janneh Commission yesterday recalled Abdoulie Jallow, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance.

He was asked to shed light on the Mahindra tractors.

Mr Jallow told the Commission that there was a letter, dated 8 November 2005, for a loan of $5,833,735 for the purchase of the tractors.

He posited that the whole loan facility was $6,700,000 but he did not know whether the entire facility was not used.

He testified that he could not tell how many tractors came, adding that he had brought a letter from the Maintenance Service Agency (MSA) which stated that work on the tractors had been done.

He also said that he had another letter from MSA to the Ministry of Finance, indicating the unloading of the tractors, further noting that there was another letter from KGI to the Ministry of Finance, requesting information on the Mahindra tractors.

Mr Jallow stated that he had a letter from MSA to KGI stating that they provided a list of Mahindra tractors which were delivered at KMC, adding that there were 162 tractors which were assembled.

He further stated that MSA was privatised by the Ministry of Finance, but he did not know who bought the company.

He adduced that the interest and principal on the loan were not paid.

He told the Commission that he had a document from India confirming the total loan.

Mr Jallow adduced that he did not know whether the loan had been paid to the Ministry of Finance.

At this juncture, it was put to him that if he did not know whether the loan was paid to the Ministry of Finance, there should be somebody at the ministry who knew whether the loan was paid.

The set of letters he brought along to the Commission were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Salifu Barrow from the Gambia Ferry Service also testified. He said he is logistics and maintenance coordinator, adding that he worked at the ferry service for 25 years and he is at the Banjul Terminal.

Mr Barrow posited that the Barajaly ferry was operating at the Farafenni crossing.

At this juncture, he was shown a photograph of the ferry and he confirmed it.

He further stated that the engines of the ferry were old and were sent for repairs, adding that the ferry never went back to Farafenni.

He revealed that the last time he saw the ferry was when it was towed to Banjul, further noting that the ferry was structurally in order and it was seaworthy.

Ousman Jobarteh, the deputy managing director of Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), testified in relation to the joint venture between The Gambia government and Galia Holdings Ltd.

He said he was not involved in the joint venture, adding that he participated in the arbitration.

Mr Jobarteh adduced that a letter, dated 5 March 2011, indicated the establishment and management of two ferries to be deployed in The Gambia.

At this juncture, he made a rundown of the joint venture between The Gambia government and Galia Holdings Ltd.

He posited that because the ferries were not operational, Galia Holdings Ltd sued the former government, adding that the joint venture was to cover all the ferry services.

He testified that the Kansala ferry cost €3,505,000, and the cost of Aljamdu ferry was €3,800,000, further noting that GPA and SSHFC paid for the civil and marine works to the tune of €4,353,363.

Abdoulie Gai, the deputy managing director at the Ferry Services, was the next person to give evidence.

He was shown a document indicating the joint venture between Galia holdings Ltd and the former government.

He said he signed it, adding that there was a taskforce set up by the Office of the former President.

He said that Njogu Bah was the chairperson of the taskforce, and that Mustapha Yabo Morr Secka and himself were members of the task force.

Mr Gai narrated that Mr Yabo introduced them to some Greeks after receiving them.

He adduced that they were summoned to the Office of the former President, further stating that the former president then treated them like children, and told them that he was not happy at the way they received the Greeks.

Mr Gai testified that they had a meeting with the taskforce and were told that the Greeks had some vessels to disburse.

He stated that he went to Greece to inspect the vessels, adding that they were to ensure that the vessels were seaworthy.

He said that the whole project was managed by the Office of the former President, adding that he was asked to sign a power of attorney by Pa Harry Jammeh, but he told him to sign first.

He posited that he signed after Pa Harry Jammeh endorsed his signature.

He further testified that they paid for the purchase of the vessels when it was approved by their board.

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Abdoulie Jallow