Solicitor General, former GNPC MD face commission

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cherno Marena, the Solicitor General and legal Secretary, on 30 August 2017 testified before the commission of inquiry looking to the assets and financial transactions of the former President Yahya Jammeh.

He stated that he works at the Ministry of Justice having been appointed in May this year, adding that he had previously been appointed and served as Solicitor General.

He said he was removed in April 2016, but was recalled in May 2017.

In relation to the termination of the licence of Carnegie Minerals, he said there was arbitration and the government was found wanting by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID), and  the matter was decided in favour of Carnegie Minerals.

He adduced that total damages claimed by Carnegie Minerals was $22,000,000, but the award or claim had not been paid because the government did institute legal action to annul the decision of the ICSID.

He stated that the government’s counsel, Daddy Kaya, sent an invoice to their office for payment of legal cost, adding that they received ten invoices for payment.

At this juncture, invoices from the solicitor of government were tendered and admitted.

Mr Marena posited that payment of $100,000 was in relation to the annulment proceedings, which has been suspended until September this year. The annulment proceedings was filed by the government to set aside the decision of the ICSID, he added.

Momodou O.S. Badjie, former MD of GNPC, also testified, saying he was reinstated at GNPC and redeployed to AMRC, adding that he was appointed MD from January 2008, to June 2016.

He said he was also director at NRA, adding that he worked at Gamtel from February 1991 to December 1998.

Mr Badjie adduced that GNPC is a public enterprise owned by the government, and it was registered.

Documents relating to the company were tendered and admitted. He said they had directives from the former President, and that $45,300 was given to PEGEP as a loan in October 2006.

He said further that there was another loan to PEGEP on 25 October 2006, to the tune of D1,000,000, and that it was received by Omar Gibb who was working at the Office of the former president.

He said there was an additional loan to PEGEP from their Trust Bank account of $20,000 on 12 December 2006.

Mr Badjie stated that the office of the former president transferred $303,000 and the purpose was not stated, adding that the transfer was made to America.

He testified that on 5 April 2012 D10,000,000 was paid to Njogu Bah as a loan for the rehabilitation of the prison under the instruction of the former president, adding that he did not know whether the prison was renovated.

He said $500,000 was paid to the office of the former president from their Skye Bank account and the money was handed over to Momodou Sabally and Njogu Bah by himself.

He said he received directives from the former president to hand over the money, adding that they wrote to the office of the former president to recommend a master plan and they were told the office of the former president would take over.

Mr Badjie said there was a letter dated 23rd July 2013 to provide all payments by oil companies, adding that they received surface rental.

He testified that they issued licence to oil companies, and that the sale of data was to be paid.

He said they also had bonuses, but the rentals they received and other payments they deposited into their account.

He adduced that they accounted for everything they did and that they built filling stations, adding that the Petroleum House was built from their resources.

Mr Badjie told the commission that they had $16,531,000 as revenue at the time and from this amount, there was a balance of $7,379,071.93.

He said they had no control of their  account  at Trust Bank because the office of former president had taken over the account.

Financial activities in respect of GNPC and other related documents were tendered and admitted.

He said under normal circumstances, the Ministry of Petroleum  should not open  an account in a commercial bank instead of the Central Bank of The Gambia.

Author: By Dawda Faye