Report faults Sira Wally Ndow for being irresponsible signatory

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The White Paper on the report of the Commission of Inquiry has concluded that Ms. Sirra Wally Ndow acted irresponsibly as a minister when she became joint signatory of the account with former President Jammeh. The reported faulted her, saying she knew that her actions were wrong at the time.

The Commission of Inquiry which was coined by the press as the Janneh Commission was established to probe into the financial activities of public bodies, enterprises and offices as regards their dealings with former President Yahya Jammeh.

The report indicated that Sirra Wally Ndow joined the public service as a cadre management analyst at the National Investment Board and in 1996 she was appointed deputy managing director at NAWEC until 2009 after which she was appointed as the minister of Energy from December 2009 to June 2010.

The government’s White Paper report indicates that the commission found, inter alia, that in April 2015, a special service account was opened at Guaranty Trust Bank and former President Jammeh and Sirra Wally Ndow were joint signatories. The account and the funds paid into the account were licencing bonuses that is, penalties imposed for failure to meet deadlines in performance, training and contributions to the resourcing of the ministry.

“The total deposits into the account were $3,884,655.19 and total withdrawal was $3,865.484,” the report revealed.

The report stated: “Former President Jammeh and Sirra Wally Ndow co-signed the first withdrawal of $428,684 which she was told was for a contractor and thereafter Sirra Wally Ndow signing alone withdrew cash totaling $2,142,800”.

“The commission found that the opening and operation of the account was illegal and that the account was opened for the purpose of availing former President Jammeh the funds as he wished without accountability,” the report stated.

The commission further found that Sirra Wally Ndow enabled former President Jammeh to steal cash from the said account and the commission concluded that there was no reason to disbelieve Sirra Wally Ndow when she said she handed the money to former President Jammeh because it is inconceivable that he authorised the withdrawal of the said sum and not make sure that he received it.

The government accepts the findings of the commission in so far as they relate to Ms. Sirra Wally Ndow; accordingly, the government accepts the recommendation of the commission that Ms. Sirra Wally Ndow is jointly liable with former President Jammeh for the joint withdrawals from the account.

The government, however, rejects the commission’s findings that Ms. Sirra Wally Ndow bears personal liability for the rest of the funds, that is, the monies she unilaterally withdrew in light of the commission’s own findings that “there was no reason to disbelieve Ms. Sirra Wally Ndow when she said she handed over the monies to former President Jammeh because it is inconceivable that he authorised the withdrawal of the said sum and not make sure that he received it”.

Consequently, the government has decided that former President Jammeh is liable for the sums unilaterally withdrawn from the account by Ms. Sirra Wally Ndow.

Author: Fatou B. Cham