Lamin Gibba, former managing director, Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), yesterday
reappeared before the Janneh Commission and said that it was wrong to give the
former president, Yahya Jammeh, a sum of D11, 000,000 loan by GPA.
He was summoned in connection to the former president’s Dobong properties.
Prior to dwelling on the subject matter, the commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, showed him some documents to confirm if they had to do with the former president’s properties. However, he said he was not familiar with the documents but was aware of the operation on the allocations of the lands by his father.
He added that there was a personal connection between the Gibba family and that of the former president, further stating that his father spent most of his life at Kanilai with the former president’s family.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that GPA’s monies were spent on these properties situated at his native village (Dobong). Mr. Gibba responded that it was part of GPA’s corporate social responsibility and that they were responsible for the cleaning, tiling and weeding of the said properties.
He testified that the GPA made sure that what ever they were doing, they copied it to the permanent secretary. He added that there was no permanent salary for the workers but rather they were giving them allowances. He disclosed that proceeds generated from the farms were usually taken to the office of the former president.
At this point, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that payments were made to villages. In response, he told the commission that they were not paying allowances to villages but they provided them with food and kola nuts.
He was again asked by Counsel Bensouda whether there were other farms being supported by GPA, and
he answered that they only concentrated on the Dobong farms. He said he was told by the villagers that the dilapidated building which was subsequently demolished was built by Amadou Samba.
On whether he had anything to do with the demolition by GPA, he replied that dock workers were part of those who were demolishing the building, and that most of the items in the building were stolen.
At this juncture, documents relating to the properties of the former president at Dobong were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Again, Mrs. Bensouda put it to him that there was a farm manager. He responded in the affirmative and added that the farm manager was employed by him but he was not paid a monthly salary by the GPA.
Further putting it to the witness, Counsel Bensouda told him that the former president was given D11,000,000 in exchange of 10,000 bags of sugar by GPA while he was the MD. Mr. Gibba confirmed this after going through some documents which were shown to him.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine intervened and asked him whether he was concerned that there was a conflict of interest as to why GPA was operating a farm when they are not a business entity. However, he told the commission that the land was given to the former president for agricultural purposes.
Mrs. Bensouda, at this juncture, asked him whether he supported the Dombong farms when he was the MD at SSHFC. He replied that he was not aware.
At this juncture, documents relating to the D11, 000,000 in exchange of 10,000 bags of sugar given to the former president by GPA were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
He finally testified that he endeavoured for the former president to understand the difference between the state and himself.
Sitting continues today.