Mamburay Njie at Janneh Commission

Friday, September 22, 2017

Mamburay Njie, the Managing Director of the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), yesterday testified at the Commission of Inquiry that looks into the assets and finance transactions of former President Yahya Jammeh.

In his testimony, Njie testified that he was appointed as the Managing Director of the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) a month ago.

He stated that he also served as permanent secretary and minister in the government service.

When asked whether he could remember the accounts to which he was a signatory, in response, he said it was difficult to remember.

On whether he was a signatory to the state aircraft account, he replied in the positive.

Mr Njie posited that as the minister of finance, it was brought to his attention by the Office of the former President that there was a grant from Qatar and that the minister should be a signatory to the account to be opened for the grant.

He adduced that after signing the document, he did not know how the account was operated.

However, Njie said he advised that the account should be channeled through the director of treasury, which should facilitate the transaction, as according to him, it was the responsibility of the director of treasury to ensure that the right procedure was followed.

Mr Njie stated that as minister of finance, it was proper to be a signatory to the account, further stating that the account was meant for the procurement of a state aircraft.

He adduced that he was under the impression that being a signatory to the account was normal, because it was requested by the former President for the grant to be allocated to the state.

He testified that he advised the former President that he (former President) should not be a signatory to the account, but he said it was his personal request.

Njie said he was told that the former President had acquired an aircraft through personal contact, adding that he did not know that €4, 000,000 and €1.5 million was withdrawn from the account.

Mr Njie posited that the Mobilisation account was for the inauguration of the former President in 2012, stating further that they discussed with different committees for the inauguration.

He adduced that what the committees budgeted was more than what they had, adding that ministers in the past had served as signatories to the account.

When put to him that constitutionally it was illegal for a minister to be a signatory to an account for a national event, he said, it was not normal and that he could not justify it.

Lamin S.I. Jammeh, the former governor of North Bank Region, told the commission that he is a farmer, and that he was a public servant.

Jammeh said he was a district chief from 1996 to 2012, adding that he was a qualified teacher.

He testified that he had received D600, 000, but could not remember the date, adding that it was meant for the purchase of animals for the sale of meat for the holy month of Ramadan.

He posited that the former President had authorised him to withdraw the money from the Central Bank, and that he was called by telephone that he should receive the money.

He said they realised that they were going to sell at a loss, further stating that they later told them that they would account for D500, 000.

He posited that they had spent D100, 000, and that he was not part of those who requested for the money.

But he further testified that he had returned D500, 000.

At this juncture, he was asked by the commission to account for D100, 000.

He then submitted a document to show how the D100,000 was spent.

At this point, he was asked to sign it before the commission, to which he concurred. The said document was then tendered and admitted.

When asked whether as a governor he should be involved in the sale of meat, in response, he said, ‘if the selling of meant was viewed as the welfare of his people, then he would, but if it was meant for commercial purpose, then it was not normal.’

He testified that he could remember being involved partly in matters of boats, adding that they visited a landing site when the former President was on a tour in Jokadu, and the former President was interested in some boats being built by a Senegalese.

He adduced that there were four boats and he recommended that they should be built at Barra.

He said they were built and taken to Banjul, adding that he did not know the purpose of building the boats.

Mr Jammeh stated that he was the one who arranged for the building of the boats.

He revealed that he had received three tractors from the Office of the former President, adding that he could not remember the mark of the tractors.

Mr Jammeh told the commission that there was a committee that was responsible for the management of the tractors.

He testified that they were kept in his office and he handed over the tractors to his successor, adding that he did not receive any vehicle from the former government.

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: Mamburay Njie