Dr. Njogu admits there were so many abnormalities

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Dr. Njogu Bah, former secretary general and head of the Civil Service and Presidential Affairs minister, yesterday reappeared before the Janneh Commission and said that there were so many abnormal things happening at State House when he was the secretary general. 

He reappeared in connection to the construction of a line house at Farafenni by the Army Engineering Company, which he confirmed.

At this juncture, he was given a document showing payment representing 50% of the contract sum and it was put to him that it was received before the signing of the contract. In response, he said he had instructions that the contract should be given to the Army Engineering Company but it was supposed to be given to Value Engineering Company.

Barrister Anna Njie further put it to him that over $250,000 was received from the Taiwanese Embassy for the said contract, and he confirmed receiving a cheque for the payment of the construction of the line house, noting that a cheque dated 6th of December, 2012, was signed on his behalf.

He was again asked why the Ministry of Works did not sign the contract, and he responded that he had a boss who instructed him to sign the said contract. He further stated that the Ministry of Works was involved when things were normal.

Counsel Anna Njie asked him whether all monies paid were kept in the Office of the Secretary General, but he responded that he could not remember when the money was in the Office of the Secretary General.

It was again put to him that over $250,000 from the Taiwanese Embassy for the construction of the line house was more than the cost of the contract, which was D3, 840,582.72.  Mr. Bah responded that the Army Engineering Company was paid three times and that the office of the former president was responsible for the project.

At this juncture, another document was shown to him indicating payments for fertilizer, and he said it was the former president who was responsible.

Two documents were shown to him indicating payments of $800,000 and $600,000 respectively. The witness also stated that the monies were for the rendering of services to the former government by two companies. However, he could not recall whether the companies had contracts with the former government.

He informed the commission that the said companies had training with the army. The said documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Earlier testifying, Col. Paul Atta Gomez of The Gambia Armed Forces shed light on the construction of the same line house at Farfenni. He said he started work in the army in 1988 and was a private soldier but was later promoted to the rank of Cadet.

According to him, the construction of the line house was on the 6th of November, 2012, and he was instructed by the former CDS, Ousman Badjie, together with the finance secretary.

He further adduced that they signed a contract and there was a design prepared by somebody, noting that they were given a document and the bill of quantities to the tune of D3, 840,582.72.

Colonel Gomez disclosed to the commission that this was the first project to do a contract with the former president.

Ms. Njie asked him whether it was normal for the Army Engineering Company to do a contract with the former government, and he responded in the affirmative. He said they worked directly with other ministries but not with the ministry of works. He confirmed that the contract was signed by him, Njogu Bah and the former CDS.

At this juncture, a contract dated 6th of November, 2012, between State House and Gambia Armed Forces and a bill of quantities dated 30th of October, 2012, signed by the GAF were tendered and admitted as exhibits, along with a sketch plan.

Mr. Gomez revealed that he was asked to prepare a bill of quantities for a line house which he signed, noting that he went to the director of Finance and 40% of the contract sum amounting to D1, 521,833.08 was paid by Njogu Bah to the director of Finance at GAF which he said was in cash.

Further testifying, he told the commission that they wrote a letter to the office of the former president that they had completed the construction.

At this juncture, two letters dated 24th April, 2013, and 30th of May, 2013, respectively indicating the inspection of the construction of the line house and the handing over were tendered and admitted in evidence.

He was asked whether it was usual to be receiving monies from the office of the former president. In response, he stated that they were part of the construction team, and that if the CDS gave them instruction to do some construction, they would go by it.

A voucher dated 7th of December, 2012, indicating payment of D1, 521,833.08 representing 40% of the contract sum was also admitted as exhibits.     

Sitting continues today.

Author: Bruce Asemota