Finance permanent secretary recalled at Commission

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Abdoulie Jallow, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance, was yesterday recalled at the Janneh Commission in relation to some Mahinda tractors.

Continuing his testimony, he said, the referred tractors were purchased from a loan between The Gambia government and a bank in India, adding that $5,800,000 was withdrawn from the total loan.

Mr Jallow adduced that the maturity of the loan was 20 years, adding that he was in possession of the loan agreement and its interest payment.

He said the purpose of the withdrawn money was to assemble the tractors.

At this juncture, the commission asked him to come back on Thursday, with a complete set of documents to be tendered before the panel.

He testified that he would confirm whether the loan was ratified by the National Assembly.

Sheriff Sawaneh of Competence Company, who earlier testified told the Commission that he is a contractor, and a shareholder at Competence and Protect Product companies.

When shown a document indicating a certificate of corporation, he said, one Philip Collins and himself were shareholders of Protect Product, a company which is not operational now.

At this point, certificate of incorporation and certificate of business registration, memorandum and article of association of Protect Product were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Mr Sawaneh told the Commission that he had registered three or four companies, including Protect Product.

At this juncture, a bank statement from Trust Bank was shown to him, to which he said he had a bank statement for Competence Company at Arab Gambian Islamic Bank (AGIB).

Mr Sawaneh testified that the account at Zenith had his name, adding that it was operated as his business and personal account.

He posited that he had an account at First International Bank and that the Guaranty Trust Bank account was opened by his business partner.

The certificate of incorporation was tendered and admitted as an exhibit.

He was reminded that he received from the tax recovery account D1, 937,346, D730, 250 and D4, 485,000.

He was also reminded that he had received from the Carnagie Minerals account the sums of D795, 000 and D245, 000, and D1, 175,000 from the sand mining account. In testimony, he confirmed receiving the said sums.

Mr Sawaneh also confirmed that he received some money from the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and International Gateway accounts.

He adduced that he had various contracts from Justice Department for the renovation of the Attorney General’s Chamber.

He posited further that he was called by either the then secretary to the cabinet or secretary-general, Momodou Sabally, to calculate how much he should be paid for the renovation of the Justice Building.

Mr Sawaneh stated that he was asked by the Ministry of Works to go to the Attorney General’s Chamber to sign the contract, further noting that he had finished doing the contract and was certificated by the Ministry of Works.

He said he had three major contracts with the Office of the former President, adding that he received D9, 996,360 for the Battery Flat apartment block at State House.

He adduced that the contract was between Competence Company and Office of the former President.

Mr Sawaneh posited that he was paid D13, 887,729 for a contract for the former medical and health department.

He said he was called by Saul Badjie to do the cost, adding that he did the costing and delivered it to Saul Badjie.

He testified that Saul Badjie had once called him into his office to sign the contract, further stating that the contract was supervised by Saul Badjie.

Mr Sawaneh revealed that he received payments from the tax recovery accounts.

At this juncture, he was asked to produce all the contracts with the Office of the former President and payments he received in relation to the contracts.

He told the commission that he received cash from General Tamba for the contracts he had secured with the Office of the former President.

He said Competence Company was registered with the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) and also with the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA).

At this juncture, he was asked to bring his tax clearance from 2012 to 2016.

Mr Sawaneh said he did not bid for any contract at the Office of the former President.

When asked why he was called and offered a contract by the Office of the former President, he replied by saying “it was because of the quality of work they did.”

He adduced that he also worked for Gamworks and had a contract with the Ministry of Basic Education, adding that he was paid D4, 500,000 for works he did for the Office of the former President.

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: Janneh Commission high table