Commission takes Sabally, Njogu Bah to task

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The commission of inquiry looking into the assets and financial transactions of former President Jammeh yesterday took Momodou Sabally, the former Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, to task.

He was reminded that he was asked to come back to make some clarifications on the withdrawal of D5,000,000 from the Carnegie Minerals account he and Nuha Touray signed and he, Sabally, withdrew.

It was put to him that he received D3,000,000 and Makamb Bah received D2,000,000, and was asked how could he explain this.

Mr Sabally told the commission that the payment of the D5,000,000 and the transfer of $75,000 were backed by directives, and that cash withdrawals were instructed by the former president.

He said most of the time the former president would give verbal instructions, and they would write memos to show that they carried out the instructions by the former president.

He testified that he could not remember these specific transactions because there were many transactions.

He adduced that they had many files and he would check those transactions if they were in the files.

It was put to him that D12,000,000 was paid to Sering Touba Ndure - who was one of the contractors of the former president - from the Carnegie Minerals account.

Mr Sabally said he never met Sering Touba Ndure, adding that a particular project was taking place at Kanilai and it was Sering Touba Ndure who was doing the project.

When he was also asked to shed light on the payment of D12,931,791 to Sering Touba Ndure from the Carnegie Mineral account, Sabally said the payment had to do with Kanilai.

They had an accountant at the office of the president, he said, adding that they would require documents before writing letters or issuing cheques.

He said some transactions did not go to the accounting officer at the office of the president.

Mr Sabally stated that with regard to the students’ tuition fees, payments were done on the instructions from the president, adding that when the government severed ties with Taiwan, they continued paying for the students.

He further revealed that the former president identified who should be sponsored and would issue an instruction, adding that students would make a follow-up.

He said that sometimes the students themselves would meet the former president, adding that there was a bonding process at the office of the former president.

He stated that the records of the students could be found at the office of the former president.

Mr Sabally testified that 6,700 Euros was for the purchase of cars from the Carnegie Mineral account, adding that it was the time when they hosted the Islamic Organisation conference.

Asked whether there was an alternative in the absence of directives, Sabally responded that if there was no directive, they would not be able to buy the cars, adding that the former president issued directives on what he wanted to be done.

He adduced that he did not think the selection of the students was competitive, adding that he never heard about the Scholarship Advisory Board.

Mr Sabally said everything was done at the office of the former president in relation to the tuition fees of the students.

Njogu Bah was the next witness to testify. He told the commission that he lives at Busumbala and he is unemployed.

He further posited that he was Secretary General of the Gambia government from 8 January 2010 to 17 March 2010, and that his service was terminated in 2011.

He was shown some documents to have a look and he confirmed that he signed them in relation to Carnegie Minerals.

Mr Bah adduced that he remembered that the Carnegie Minerals license was terminated but did not know why it was terminated, as the termination was a directive from the former president.

He further testified that he could not say much about Apam, adding that he came across Apam during the commission.

He said he did not know what Apam does.

He was asked about accounts outside the consolidated revenue fund opened by the office of the former president.

Mr Bah replied that as Secretary General, he created in 2013 tax recovery account at GTB.

It was put to him that there was a withdrawal of $500,000 equivalent to D14,400,000 from the Carnegie account at GTB, but he said that he could not confirm the withdrawal.

He added that he could not recall the Carnegie Minerals account.

It was also put to him that there was a National Security account but said he did not know the reason for opening the account, adding that he did not know the associates of the former president.

The former president dealt with many people, he added.

Mr Bah also said there might have been contracts he awarded but could not remember, adding that the former president was engaged in bakery and butchery directly or indirectly.

He was in a dilemma, he said, adding that Taiwan and the office of the former president had bilateral budget and that funds were being sent from Taiwan by way of cheques to the Secretary General at the office of the former president.

He adduced that the funds were spent for the purpose for which they were intended.

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: Njogu Bah and Momodou Sabally