Naffie Barry testifies before commission

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Janneh Commission yesterday heard the testimony of the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Employment, Industry and Regional Integration, Naffie Barry.

She told the commission that in 2005, they were to attend a meeting in India.

She said that prior to leaving, there was a letter from India indicating that the former secretary of state, Balla Gaye, should sign the letter as the head of the delegation.

Mrs Barry adduced that the minister said he was not going to the meeting anymore, further stating that she went with Kebba Touray on behalf of the minister.

She posited that she had the authority to sign on behalf of the minister.

She testified that the loan was supposed to be a line of credit for the purchase of tractors, adding that she signed the loan agreement and forwarded it to the secretary general.

She posited that the Office of the former President then asked them to go on a mission to India, further noting that Njogu Bah, herself and Suruwa Jaiteh were part of the delegation of the mission to look at two companies for short listing.

Mrs Barry disclosed that they chose Mahindra which signed an agreement with the former government.

She testified that from the mission, they made a report.

At this juncture, a document was shown to her to confirm whether it was the report, but she said she could not remember it but it looked familiar.

She stated that an agreement dated 1 April 2006, was signed after they chose Mahindra, adding that it was signed by Suruwa Jaiteh.

Mrs Barry adduced that the signed agreement was for the purchase of 500 tractors.

She said she understood that the tractors were brought to the country but she did not see them, adding that the purpose of the purchase of the tractors was to mechanise agriculture.

She further posited that this was her understanding for the purchase of the tractors.

She stated that there was no follow-up by her ministry.

All the documents relating to the purchase of the tractors were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Suruwa Jaiteh also testified. He said he was the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture.

He adduced that he is a consultant, adding that he retired in 1998 and got a contract in 2005 until 2006.

He testified that he was permanent secretary 2 for programme and budgeting.

Mr Jaiteh disclosed that in 2006 they were summoned to the Office of the former President to go to India to sign for the acquisition of Mahindra tractors.

He testified that there were some early arrangements between Mahindra and the former government.

He adduced that while in India, they were met by the High Commissioner of The Gambia, further noting that they chose the Mahindra tractors.

He said he signed for the 500 tractors.

He testified that by the time the tractors came, he was out of the system, adding that they were asked to look for a consortium of Gambian entrepreneurs to take care of the tractors.

He disclosed that Shyben Madi, Salif Jaiteh and M.A. Mboge were the entrepreneurs.

He stated that he was told that the tractors were taken to Kanilai by the former president and that Kanilai Family Farm was selling them.

Kebba Manneh, senior manager technical services at GPA, also gave evidence.

He said in 2011, he was involved in Kansala and Aljamdu ferries.

He adduced that he was with a technical team on a trip, adding that he was asked to summit his passport by someone to Foreign Affairs or State House.

He posited that the person rang off the phone, adding that he informed the former managing director, Momodou Lamin Gibba, who told him that they were on a meeting, and he the witness could talk to his team.

Mr Manneh adduced that he then talked to his team, and told them that they could go back.

He said when he came back, he surrendered his passport at the Foreign Ministry, adding that himself, Njogu Bah and Mustapha Yabo went to Greece but he did not know why they were going to Greece, but Njogu Bah later told him what their mission was about.

He stated that when they arrived, they inspected the ferries, adding that they had a meeting with counterparts.

Mr Manneh posited that he never attended any meeting when they came back, further noting that a draft report was sent to him but he did see the report itself.

He testified that he did not attend the taskforce meeting, adding that he told the team he was with that the ferries were not operational.

He said that no spare parts were sent for the ferries, adding that he never wrote any report neither did he raise any objection to the acquisition of one of the ferries.

Mr Manneh stated that he was not competent at the time to say that the ferries were not suitable to be used, adding that he had nothing to do with the ferries when they came. 

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: PS Naffie Barry