Lamin Gibba and Edward Graham, both former managing directors at the Social
Security and Housing Financial Corporation (SSHFC), yesterday appeared before
the Commission of Inquiry that looks into the assets and financial transactions
of former President Yahya Jammeh.
Testifying earlier before the commission, Mr Gibba said he was the managing director of SSHFC from 3 April 2011 to 2 August 2012, adding that he had received instructions from the Office of the former President to disburse loans to his office.
He said the loans were in dollars and one of them was given to the Islamic International Company, on behalf of NAWEC.
Mr Gibba revealed that there was another directive received from the Office of the former President to pay D6,432,000 to Amadou Samba for the purchase of water tank.
He said had strained relationship between him and the former President when he was the managing director at the GPA.
He further stated that he also advised former president in connection with ferry service.
When asked why he should approve loans to be given to the Office of the former President from the National Provident Fund account, he said he had no choice because he was bound to comply with the directives from the Office of the former President.
It was put to him that it was wrong to approve loans to be given to the Office of the former President, but he did it out of fear.
Mr Gibba told the commission that the loan he approved to be given to Amadou Samba for the purchase of a water tank was urgent, adding that he could not remember whether he took the matter before the board for approval.
But he testified that the loan was not paid, nor did he follow it up, further stating that he could not remember their auditors.
He posited that he received a verbal directive from the Office of the President to disburse a loan of D10,000,000 for the purchase of Tobaski rams, adding that it was a telephone conversation between him and the former President.
He testified that as the managing director at GPA, he used to advise the former president, but that specific one did not go down well with ex-president.
He said this was why he was redeployed by the former president to the SSHFC.
Mr Gibba stated that as far as he was concerned, whatever the former president had requested for was always given to him, adding that the loan for the Tobaski was not put before the board.
He revealed that the former president had promised to settle the loan, but failed to do so. But, according to him, he did not make a follow-up for the payment to be effected.
Gibba said he was taken back to the GPA, but he would have loved to stay at SSHFC, further noting that while he was at there, loans were given to NAWEC to buy heavy fuel at the tune of $7,900,000, $5,000,000, and $6,000,000.
At this juncture, documents were shown to him with relation to loans given to NAWEC. In response, he said, they were directives from the Office of the President, further positing that he had agreed that payments from the National Provident Fund account was not proper.
Mr Gibba told the commission that he did not have the courage to discuss the loans given to NAWEC with their board, adding that he and Abdoulie Cham, the finance director at SSHFC, discussed the matter.
He agreed that funds at the SSHFC belong to the Gambian people, adding that he advised the former president that the funds at the corporation do not belong to the government.
On the Barrajally ferry, he said, Muhammed Bazzi asked him to hand over the ferry to Gam-petroleum, but he responded negatively, adding that Mr Bazzi informed the former president about the matter.
He testified that one Ebrima Camara from the Office of the former President had given him the directive to hand over the ferry, to which he complied.
According to him, the ferry was finally returned to the GPA without compensation.
Mr Gibba adduced that they gave out a land to the Gambia International Milling Company on the directives of the Office of the former President, but Mr Bazzi never paid a compensation of D18,000,000 for the said land.
Edward Graham, former managing director of SSFC, who also testified at the commission, explained that he had served the corporation from October 2010 to December 2010. Graham said he also worked for GPTC as managing director in 1997.
On whether he received directives from the Office of the former President to disburse money from SSHFC between October 2010 and December 2010, he said, on 27 October 2010, there was a directive from the Office of the former President for a loan of D15,000,000 for the purchase of Tobaski rams from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. This, he said, was meant to be paid within a maturity period of 2 months, further positing that he advised his staff members to go ahead with the directives.
Graham said he asked Njogu Bah to write an authority for the loan to be released, and that he knew it should have gone to the board. He added that he never executed operations without seeking the approval of the board.
Mr Graham told the commission that he became aware that the matter was not taken to the board, noting that they were entitled to give out loans to the government for investment.
In relation to the acquisition of an aircraft to the tune of $4,500,000 as a loan, he told the commission that there was a loan agreement as to how the loan should be paid.
He adduced that the loan issue did not go to their board, adding that the loan agreement was between the corporation and the government.
He adduced that the National Provident Fund account was not in good shape, because he went through the records of the corporation.