‘I served President Jammeh with fear’, former GPA MD tells commission

Monday, September 04, 2017

Muhammed Lamin Gibba, former managing director of Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), has told the commission of inquiry looking into the assets and financial transactions of former President Yahya Jammeh, that he served the former president with fear.

In his testimony, he said he lives at Brusubi and he is no longer working, adding that he depends on his pension and social security benefit.

He said he started working at GPA as managing director from October 2004 to April 2011, and his service was terminated on 16 December 2014.

Mr Gibba adduced that during his tenure at GPA, there was CFA Franc sold to the office of the former president, who asked whether the GPA had been selling CFA Franc to members of the public.

He added that he later called the former president back to explain how they did the sale.

He told the commission that there was a committee that was responsible for the sale of CFA Franc and the former president asked him why he was not part of the committee.  He said he told the former president he did not want to influence the members of the committee in doing their work.

He also said he did not know how the former president got to know they were selling CFA Franc, adding that the former president told him he was spying on them.

Mr Gibba revealed that the former president would call him on the phone and would tell him how much CFA Franc he needed, adding that the former president would issue verbal instruction to sell CFA Franc to him.

He testified that the CFA Franc would be arranged and he would authorise Ousman Jobarteh to carry the money to the former president.

He said that documents relating to the sale of CFA Franc were submitted to Major Yusupha Sanneh and General Saul Badjie, and not to the Secretary General.

At this juncture, notes on sale of CFA Franc were tendered and admitted.

He stated that there was an agreement between The Gambia and Senegal for the Senegalese passengers using the ferry services to pay in foreign currency, which was why they were paying in CFA Franc.

Mr Gibba adduced that he would remind the former president to settle the CFA Franc sold to him, and that he would settle it.

He was asked whether he had served the nation without fear or favour, and he said he did, adding that he achieved his objective as MD to “serve the nation positively”.

It was put to him that he said he had served the nation without fear or favour, and was asked whether when he was dealing with the former president he served the nation without fear or favour.

In response, he said when he was dealing with the former president he served him with fear.

Ousman Jobarteh, who also testified, said he works at GPA as deputy MD and has worked for 25 years, adding that he had been the deputy MD for 3 years.

He posited that the former president was involved in their instruction, adding that Kanilai Family Farm had a cargo and the company did not pay for the service.

He stated that they built a pavilion at the Kanilai Cultural Arena, and that they were given instruction to give out CFA Franc loan and D6.9 million was outstanding.

He adduced that services rendered to Kanilai Family Farm was to the tune of D11,480,194.28 and was never paid, adding that the GPA did some work on the pavilion at the Kanilai Cultural Arena to the tune of D6,563,831.36.

Mr Jobarteh stated that there were arrears of 322,000,000 CFA Franc, which was sold to the office of the former president, adding that the managing director at Kanilai Family Farm was responsible for the transaction.

He testified that the GPA MD did call to say the former president needed some CFA Franc which would be paid later, adding that he received directives from the MD for the sale of CFA Franc to the former president.

Mr Joberteh revealed that September 2014 to September 2015 was the period of the CFA transactions.

Receipt books and documents relating to the CFA Franc transaction with the office of the former president were tendered and admitted.

He posited that GPA finances and is responsible for the management of the ferry, adding that the CFA Franc were collected at the ferry terminal from passengers.

He said he had no documents relating to the transaction of YDE (Youth Development Enterprise), adding that the transactions were handled at the Kanilai Family Farm.

He said the GPA made some investment under the instruction of the office of the former president, adding that Aljamdu and Kansala ferries cost over D7,000,000 but were not operational, although it was the former president who instructed for their purchase.

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: GPA MD Muhammed Lamin Gibba