President’s office failed to pay outstanding debts, former GNPC MD tells commission

Friday, September 15, 2017

Momodou O.S. Badjie, the former managing director of the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), yesterday told the Commission of Inquiry that is looking into the assets and financial transactions of former President Yahya Jammeh that the Office of the former President failed to pay outstanding debts owed to the corporation.

In his testimony, he said the debts were incurred at a time when he was not the managing director.

He stated that AU Villas that were constructed after the AU Summit from the account of GNPC amounted to the tune of $440,000, adding that 30 villas were sold, amounting to the abovementioned sum.

Badjie, who posited that 18 villas were handed to the government and 4 to GNPC, said they were done by means of special arrangement.

He said that anything that was outstanding was written off, adding that there was a payment of $20,000 for the Youth and Sport; payments for Franky Paul’s air ticket; and a payment of $7,000,000 for Jammeh Foundation for Peace and Kanilai Family Farm.

Mr. Badjie further stated that when he found the debt, he wrote to the Office of the former President to recover it. But he said they were written off on his recommendation to the board.

He adduced that $54,783 was paid to the Office of the former President for an aircraft, adding that €122,332 was also paid for air tickets.

Mr. Badjie posited that $1,595,952 was paid to PEGEP, noting that the sum was outstanding. He said his office wrote to the Office of the former President to recover the debt, but it was not paid.

He stated that the board approved for the letter to be sent to the Office of the former President for payment.

He said from seven staff members, they were able to increase to 200 members of staff, adding that during his time there was little interference.

He stated that they built 9 stations across the country, adding that he was not sure whether there were consequences to pursue the debts.

Mr. Badjie revealed that the former government did not give them subvention during his time, adding however that GNPC was profitable over the years.

He posited further that a sum of $5,000,000 was given to them as a loan by the Central Bank for data acquisition, adding that this was not during his time, and he did not know whether the money had been paid.

Madun Sanyang, finance director at GNPC, also testified. He said he is an accountant, adding that he was interdicted.

He adduced that he did not get prior information from PMO in 2016, as he was dismissed, adding that no reason was stated for his dismissal.

Mr. Sanyang stated that there was a letter which states that there were some products that were never accounted for, adding that he was arrested and that investigations showed that the said product was received.

He testified that from 2014 to the time of his dismissal, he was the financial director, saying that he was head of finance until 2016.

He posited that there was an instruction from the MD, through the Office of the former President, to deliver $150,000 to Momodou Sabally, who signed a voucher for the receipt of the money.

He said that his appointment letter was written by the MD, while his termination letter was written by the PMO.

When asked whether he was aware of any agreement between Apam and a Chinese company for dredging of sand,   Abdoulie Cham, geological director, in response, said he was not aware.

He stated that there was a licence for the Gunjur site, adding that they expressed concern for the depletion of the site for dredging of sand.

He adduced that the project Mr. Ghattas had mentioned to them was not under their jurisdiction, adding that Mr. Ghattas was asked to bring a proposal before they could table it before the ministry.

He said that Apam needed another licence to engage in the dredging of sand from the seabed. 

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: The Janneh Commission in progress