GT Bank MD dwells on Ex-President Jammeh’s accounts

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Mr. Ayodele Bolaji, managing director of Guaranty Trust Bank, reappeared before the Janneh Commission in relation to accounts belonging to the former president.

According to him, the former president used to own four accounts at the said bank, namely Dalasi, Euro, Dollar and Pound Sterling respectively. He said all accounts were opened in 2015.

He informed the commission that the Dalasi account was opened on the 7th February, 2015, and closed on the 30 June, 2017, and that it was frozen and the last transaction was on the 23rd of January, 2017.

The total deposit into the account, according to him, was D5, 780,725 which he said was Jammeh’s salary account, further stating that his monthly salary was D170, 000.

He said the balance was D4, 207,889.63, further adding that there were two withdrawals. According to him, there was a total deposit of $22,000 in 2015, and it was withdrawn on the 8 January, 2017.

He testified that the Euro account was opened on 8 January 2015 with a deposit of €15, 833.03 and the Pound Sterling account was opened in 2015 with a deposit of£12, 500.

At this juncture, transfer information, statements of accounts of Dalasi, Dollar, Pound Sterling and Euro were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

With regard to the office of the former first lady’s account, the witness revealed that there were four accounts opened on the 10 October, 2016; namely Dalasi, Euro and Dollar accounts respectively but there was no Pound Sterling account.

On the Dalasi account, former First Lady Zainab Jammeh and Alagie Ousman Ceesay were signatories to the account and the first transaction was done on the same day the account was opened while the last transaction was on the 13 January, 2017. The total deposit into the account, according to him, was D126, 844.20.

He added that this account was classified as government account because it was opened based on the letter the bank received from the Office of the First Lady and the balance in this account was D15.

On the Dollar account, he stated that it was opened on the 10 October, 2016 and the last transaction was 13 January, 2017, and there was a total deposit of $287,451 leaving a balance $8,691. He said all the payments were in cash deposited by Alagie Ousman Ceesay, chief protocol officer, Office of the former President. He, however, disclosed that there were various transfers to the United States of America, France and Morocco and there were twenty-six transfers in three months.

On the Euro account, the banker testified that there was a deposit of €33,896.52 into the account and the first transaction was done on the 10 of January, 2017, while the last transaction was 13 January, 2017, and there were five deposits made by Alagie Ousman Ceesay.

Mr. Bolaji further disclosed that all the transfers were sent to US to different payees and the balance was €0.31; adding that there was no Pound Sterling account.

At this juncture, the witness agreed with Counsel Bensouda that the accounts were used for the first lady’s personal business. Documents relating to all these accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

On Operation Save the Children Account, the account had both Dalasi and Dollar accounts and the signatories were former first lady and the former vice president, Isatou Njie Saidy. The accounts were opened on the 29 January, 2016 and there was a letter from the Office of the former First Lady, signed by Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie.

According to him, the first transaction was on the 28 September, 2016, while the last transaction was 8 March, 2017, and the account was frozen.  He said the total deposit in this account was $506, 865,160 and the sum of $25,000 was transferred to Israel and there were two cheques amounting to $68,250 and another $88,000 which were all transferred. He said there was a balance of $597,165 and the sum of $4,190 was transferred to T.K. Motors and that there was no transfer of dollars to hospitals.

On the Dalasi account, Mr. Bolaji revealed that the sum of D21, 237,877.60 was deposited while the balance was D1, 494,261.58 and the first transaction was on the 16 February, 2016, while the last transaction was 28 November, 2017. He added that the sources of these funds were from donor agencies, and the Republic of China donated over $400,000 into the Dollar account.

He further disclosed that Jah Oil Company donated D1, 000,000 while NAWEC donated D400, 000, as well as Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), Gambia International Airline (GIA) and Gambia Food Safety all donated significant amount to Save the Children Dalasi account through buying tables for dinner.

Mr. Mousa Mousa, managing director, T.K. Motors, said that he has been the MD since 2004; adding that the company was incorporated by Tarik Mousa in 1997. However, hence he was not prepared; he craved the indulgence of the commission to give him time to get prepared. He added that the proprietor of T.K. Motors, Tarik Mousa, also owns T.K. Exports and the shareholders of T.K. Exports are the witnesses, Tarik Mousa and Mrs. Aisha Balla Gaye.

Next to testify was Mr. Edrisa Njie, the managing director of Gambia Engineering and Consultancy Services (GAMECS),who was summoned in connection to the construction of slipways for two ferries, Aljamdou and Kansala. He said in 2011, he conducted a consultancy for the construction of slipways for the said ferries; adding that he was aware that the ferries were not operational.

According to him, their assignment was to design slipways for the ferries which was based on the information they had from Gallia Holding and GPA respectively. He said he saw the ferries when they arrived in Banjul and that they supervised the construction of the slipways.

He said prior to constructing the slipways, they made recommendation for geological situation to be identified but they later realised that the ferries could not dock and advised GPA for the landing site to be relocated which was done. He said while Aljamdou was on sea trial, the ram fell into the sea while Kansala was able to dock on the slipway constructed in Banjul. However, he said they were later asked to vacate the place and soldiers were deployed to guard the place and since then, he did not know what transpired.

Mr. Njie, however, said had it been there were dredges, then Kansala could have continued to operate or ply on the slipways constructed; adding that he did not know why Aljamdo’s ram fell neither did he know why they were asked out, even though there was another project being done for which he said requested their services to conduct a geological survey.

He said nobody was allowed to go and see the new project which was supervised by Global Trading, and that he had been in the field for 60 years.

Mr. Njie finally testified that there was no adequate information available to them before the arrival of the ferries. Meanwhile, GAMECS report prepared by the witness in relation to the construction of the slipways was tendered and admitted as exhibit.

Musa Bittaye, a senior legal practitioner, also testified in connection to the recovery of $3,000,000 transferred by Captain Ebou Jallow. He recalled that he was appointed on the 15 January, 1996, as attorney general and minister of Justice and was dismissed on the 23 April, 1996.

According to him, sometime in 1996, the then chairman of the AFPRC, Yahya Jammeh, asked him on the phone to see him at State House and told him that Captain Ebou Jallow had transferred $3,000,000 and solicited his advice as to what to do.

He told the former president that he had to go to Switzerland but prior to his travel to Geneva, he contacted the Gambian Consul to make arrangements for him to appear before a judge which he did. He said when he appeared before the judge, the judge requested for evidence and he then contacted the Ministry of Defence and Central Bank to provide him with some documents which he used to persuade the judge and subsequently Captain Jallow’s account in Switzerland was blocked.

According to him, because of the legal implication, he engaged a local Swiss lawyer to freeze Captain Jallow’s account but he was relieved of his duties when he returned. He assumed that those who took over from him could have proceeded with the matter in Switzerland; adding that he could not remember the bank where Captain Jallow transferred the said sum.

Mr. Bittaye further testified that the money transferred by Captain Jallow belonged to the former government, and that to the best of his knowledge, Captain Jallow was given a power of attorney to open the account in Switzerland; adding that he was also given a power of attorney to represent the former government in the matter.  He said he did not ask the purpose of opening the account in Switzerland and Captain Jallow was not authorised to withdraw the money, as he never consulted his colleagues.

He said he never knew whether the money was retrieved, and that Captain Jallow was a member of AFPRC together with him, Yankuba Touray and Edward Singhatey.

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: Mr. Ayodele Bolaji GTB MD