I retired D385,000 to Fatou Mass Jobe - Mayor Yankuba Colley testifies

Friday, January 12, 2018

The mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) and national mobiliser of the Opposition APRC Party, Yankuba Colley, yesterday testified before the Janneh Commission that he retired the sum of D385,000 to Fatou Mass Jobe.

Mr. Colley was summoned in relation to payments from the Mobilization Account.

He testified that he served as mayor for 10 years and was also a councillor from 2002-2005, further stating that the council has been dissolved.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that there were cheques for D602, 000, D230, 000, D150,000 and D5,000 respectively paid to him from the said account. He confirmed that he received these payments.

According to him, he retired the sum of D385, 000 to Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie. “If you do not retire monies, you will not get another impress,” he told the commission. He added that he did not have any documents because they were consumed by fire at the APRC Bureau at Kanafing.

However, he produced documents showing that he had retired some monies which were subsequently tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Mr. Colley confirmed that a sum of money was paid to him for the KMC mobilisation team while he was the chairman; adding that he was in charge of mobilisation for the welcoming and farewell for the then Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, in November, 2013.

Responding further, he said the mobilisation team was a group of women politicians and the money paid to him was meant for them. Counsel Bensouda put it to him that he submitted some documents without supporting receipts. Therefore she told him that it was in his own interest to provide receipts for the retirements of those funds given to him.

Mrs. Oumie Samba-Savage, former deputy governor, Central Bank of the Gambia, testified that at the time the transaction of $28,000,000 loan took place, she was the Principal Accountant and it happened 17 years ago.

She informed the commission that she dealt with several accounts at the bank. However, she said she could not say anything regarding the 3M Account unless she saw some documents but was quick to acknowledge that substantial amounts were paid to Baba Jobe from this account.

The former banker testified that Mr. Abdoulie Cham was her boss and she took over from him when he left but there was no formal handing over, as there was chaos at the bank, because top brass of the bank got their services terminated. She added that when reports were submitted to IMF, they intimated to the bank that there was a misreporting to the tune of $28,000,000 which was a concern to them.

According to her, the misreporting triggered a re-auditing to be done by a South African Audit Firm which she was part of, further stating that she could not remember whether the $28,000,000 was recovered; adding that IMF requested for the money to be refunded.

When asked by counsel the source of funds refunded to IMF, she said she did not know. It was further put to her by counsel that the sum of $500,000 and $600,000 were transferred by her. In response, she revealed to the commission that the $500,000 was a payment in respect of Jamus Import and Export Services as indicated in a telex message.

Mrs. Savage disclosed that the mode of operation was that directives will come from the MD to the financial controller and finally to her desk and would do the transaction. She confirmed that the $28,000,000 was not included in the report submitted to IMF and the bank gets loans from them. She said she did not know whether the said amount was a debit transaction, neither did she know why the money was excluded from their report to IMF.

The former deputy governor informed the commission that she did not play any role for the exclusion of the said money, further stating that it was the Research Department that was responsible for preparing reports.

However, when it was put to her by Commissioner Bai Mass Saine that the non-inclusion of the said amount in their report undermined her integrity as then head of Finance, but she responded that it undermined not only her integrity but the entire bank; adding that it tarnished the reputation of the bank.

It was further put to her by Counsel Bensouda that the former financial controller at the bank, Mr. Abdoulie Cham, had told the commission that a sum of $28,000,000 was outstanding when she took over his post.

Mrs, Savage responded that she could not recollect neither could she remember how the misreporting was resolved and after looking at the certificate of incumbency shown to her by counsel, she maintained that she could not remember the said outstanding loan.

She finally testified that the re-audit by a South African Firm was not finalised.

Next to testify was Mr. Nuha Touray, former secretary to Cabinet who was summoned in connection to GAMTEL and the Republic of China on Taiwan loans and grants respectively.

On GAMTEL, he said the former president instructed him to write to Muhammed Bazzi who represented TELL interest in The Gambia and after writing to him, funds were deposited into the account to which he and Momodou Sabally were signatories.

Minutes of meeting and letters written by the witness to the former president and Bazzi were admitted in evidence. Mr. Touray, however, disclosed that the contract was awarded to MGI by the former government for GAMTEL International Gateway. He added that the management of GAMTEL were reluctant for the Gateway remittances to be taken from them by the office of the former president, and they wrote to the former president to that effect.

According to him, the appeal from the management of GAMTEL to rescind the decision for remittances from the Gateway to be handled by the office of the former president was not considered.  

On fuel exclusivity licence granted to EURO AFRICA GROUP by the former government, he said he saw correspondences regarding this issue but he did not know why it was granted to them. He added that he knows T.K. Exports and they were responsible for the provision of gold coins for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the July 22nd for high profile dignitaries.

He confirmed that the gold coins were received but could not recall who actually received them on behalf of the former president; adding that he did not know what became of the gold coins.

Hearings continue on Monday Jan. 15, 2018.

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture:Mayor Yankuba Colley