I consider myself as a proud Gambian Says Laly Diab

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Mrs. Laly Diab, former managing director of Unique Transport Services Company (UTSCO), and Sindola Safari Lodge, who also operates her family business, Emporium, yesterday reappeared before the Janneh Commission, saying that she considered herself as a proud Gambian.

Responding to questions from both Commissioners Bai Mass Saine and Abiosseh George, the business tycoon testified that on Sindola Safari Lodge, Kanilai Farms owned a share of 79% while Zainab Jammeh owned 21% on behalf of her children.

According to her, she did not communicate directly with the former president, as she used to prepare reports and minutes  for him; adding that she did not meet the former president for a period of five years from 2010-2015. She said she had high regards for the former president and she practiced within the parameters of her mandate and she did her job and focused on her duties.

Mrs. Diab further stated that even if the current head of state requests for her services, she would endeavour to serve during her leisure time; adding that it could be due to the confidence the former president had in her that he decided to appoint her to run those businesses, Sindola and UTSCO respectively. However, she said she did not take any remuneration for these services, as she did not want to commit herself.

The business lady explained that she was not a member of any board neither was she involved in any executive; adding that the other reason for not taking salary or occupy any of the places she was supervising was to protect her business interest.

“As an intelligent business person, you select where to make profits and if I had asked for money from the former president for my service, he would have obliged,” she said.

At this juncture, the commission’s counsel, Mrs. Bensouda, asked whether she furnished the former president’s residence at Kanilai, she responded in the positive and added that the former president used to buy furniture from them and they also provided cottons for the Cabinet and renovated the bathrooms but these supplies were never tendered.

On private matters, she said the former president used to send someone to her. Responding further on how she came to know the former president, she said she knew him when he visited the Emporium Complex.

She finally testified that she was not much friendly with the former first family. However, she was donating to the first babies born in the year through Operation Save the Baby Foundation.

Prior to Mrs. Diab’s testimony, the managing director of Trust Bank, Ebrima Sallah, reappeared in connection to various accounts opened by the former president and he gave a rundown of accounts operated by Kanilai Group International (KGI) and Kanilai Family Farms (KFF) respectively.

He said KGI’s accounts were three in number and the first two were linked and stated that it was opened in September, 2010 and the signatories were the former president, Ahmed Hodrog and Pa Ousman Bojang. The first transaction on this account was on the 1 September, 2010 to the tune of $114,280.96 and the amount was a transfer from one of the KGI accounts, he testified.

He told the commission that the last transaction was on 10 April, 2013 with a sum of $39,500 and there was a balance of $230.10. Source of funding and payment were cash payments and the accounts were not frozen, he disclosed. He further noted that the account may be dormant by now.

On the KGI International (main account), he testified that it was a Euro account and the signatories were the same, further noting that there was a letter of credit transfer of over $100,000. There was a letter signed by former Secretary General Njogu Bah, stating that Pa Ousman Bojang was re-appointed as the managing director of KGI.

Dwelling on the KGI International Account (CRR), he said there was a dollar denomination account which was opened in August 2007, and Huja Gass Jaiteh -Njie was the sole signatory to the account.

He informed the commission that the first transaction was on the 2 August 2007 to the tune of $10,500 and the last transaction was on the 15 September, 2010 with the sum of $102,443.25, and the source of funds were deposit by Henny Mousa and Muhammed Mubarak but the purpose was not stated and no documents were attached with regard to the account.

Still testifying on Kanilai Family Farms accounts, he revealed that it was opened in September, 2010, and the signatories were the former president and Pa Ousman Bojang, that there was a letter dated 3 June, 2009, signed by Pa Bojang, indicating that he should have access to all accounts belonging to KGI, noting that the first transaction was on the 4 of September, 2009, from one of the accounts of KGI to the tune of D50, 000.

The last transaction on this account, according to him, was on the 11 April, 2011 in the sum of D3056.34 and the total deposit that went into the account was D50, 000. On KFF Butchery account, he said it was opened in September, 2010, and the former president, Pa Ousman Bojang and Ahmed Hodrog were the signatories.

He testified that the first transaction was on the 1 September, 2010, to the tune of D50,000 and the last transaction was on the 11 April, 2011, with the sum of D47,927.17 but the total deposit into the account was D82,122, while the balance was zero dalasi.

On KFF Logistics account, he said the sole signatory was the former president and it was opened in September, 2010, and the first transaction was on the 8 of September, 2010, to the tune of D100, 000 while the last transaction was on the 11 April, 2011, with the sum of D30, 241.69 and the total deposit was D138, 000.

 Further testifying, the banker disclosed that another account in the name of KFF Workshop was opened in 2009, and the signatories were Ensa E.K. Badjie, Sidat Gibba and Yankuba Jatta; adding that the total deposit into the account was D1, 313, 296 while the first transaction was on the 14 April, 2009, with over D1, 000,000 and the last transaction amounted to D21, 350 with a balance of D40,90.

Another account, Sallah revealed, was the KFF Farato/Kanilai account opened in August, 2010, and the signatories were Yankuba Jatta and Pierre Tamba; that the total deposit into the account was D485, 024 and the first transaction was on the 30 of August, 2010, to the tune of D359, 425 and the last transaction was on the 28 of February, 2014, with the sum of D10, 375, and the balance was D9, 550. 30.

With regard to KFF Abattoir account, he stated that it was opened in March, 2010, and there was no transaction on the account and it was closed by the bank.

Bundle of documents relating to these accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Hearings continue today

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: Mrs. Lily Diab former MD UTSC