Trust Bank MD makes revelations on ex-president’s accounts

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Mr. Ebrima Sallah, managing director, Trust Bank Gambia Ltd, was recalled in connection to accounts opened by the former president including various Kanilai Family Farms accounts.

Dwelling on the accounts operated by the former president, Sallah disclosed that there were Operation Save the Baby Account, AU First Lady Conference Account, Higher Education Support Account and PAC PEC Taskforce Account.

On the Operation Save the Baby account, he said it was opened on the 6 June, 2010 and the first transaction was on the 19 June, 2010 with a sum of D350, 000 and the former president was the sole signatory; adding that the last transaction on this account was on the 23 January, 2017,with a sum of D520,640.29 and it was used by the bank to settle a debt owed by the former president, and he said he did not know why the account was opened and the balance is zero.

Sallah further explained that there was a payment made to the tune of D350, 000 to open the account, adding that there was no withdrawal.

On AU First Lady’s Conference account, he said it was a Dalasi current account, and was opened  in April 2006, he further stated that Mrs. Elizabeth Hardings, Teneng Ba Jaiteh and Fanta Ceesay, director of Social Welfare were the signatories to the account. He said the last transaction was D3, 900 and the balance was D2, 045,620.87, while the total deposit was D2, 523, 935.

On the Higher Education Support Account, Sallah alluded that it was opened in 2013 and the signatories were Abdoulie Sallah and Njogu Bah. He said the first transaction was a cheque payment of D10, 000 and the sum of D9, 575 was withdrawn and there was a balance of D425.

On the PAC/PEC account, he said Mr. Kalilou Bayo and Nuha Touray were the signatories and the first transaction was on the 7 August, 2012 in the sum of D323, 750 while the last transaction was on the 5 April, 2017 and there was a balance of D96, 877.38.

Another account in the name of Hospitals for the Treatment of HIV/AIDS, he informed the commissioners that there were Dalasi current and savings accounts respectively with the same signatories and was opened in September, 2007, and the former president was the sole signatory.

According to him, the first transaction was on the 27 September, 2007 and the sum of D49, 000 was deposited into the account while the last transaction was on the 23 January, 2017. However, there was a total deposit of D1, 676, 792.06 and there was a total debit of D200, 000 by the bank for settlement of loan by the former president. There was an additional cash payment of D20, 000 into the same account, he said.

Mr. Sallah testified that there was another payment of D748, 000 while on the Dollar account, he said the first transaction was on the 21 September, 2007 with a deposit of $50,000 paid in by one Juma S.G. Janneh and the last transaction was $58,461.89. He added that on the 28 November, 2007, there was a cheque payment of $300,000 and on the 19 of December, 2007, there was another payment of $1,000,000 from the Republic of China on Taiwan.

At that juncture, commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, asked Mr. Sallah to make more efforts and provide the commission with the source of an initial cheque deposited into the same account and the total respectively.

Continuing, the witness disclosed that in September, 2007, there was a Dalasi savings account and the first transaction was on the 24th of September, 2007, with the sum of D185,000 and a debt of D519, 621.77 was debited by the bank. Responding to counsel, the witness disclosed that nothing like opening a hospital was shown in the account opening information.

According to him, the sum of $43,000 was withdrawn from the account. At that point, account opening information, statements of account, transaction documents and other relevant documents relating to these accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

On President’s Treatment Program Account, he said the sole signatory to this account was the former president and it was opened in June, 2010 with a cheque payment of D200, 000 which was from GAMTEL/GAMCEL Staff Association and the last transaction was on the 5 April, 2017, and there was a payment of D5, 000, while the balance was D8, 555.70

Another account operated at Trust Bank by the former president was the APRC Travel account and the signatories were Yahya Jammeh and Sanna Sabally. He said the account was opened on the 11 October, 1994. He said there was no actual transaction in this account; however, he said the account was subjected to freezing and on the 1st of July, 2005, there was a balance of D344, 185.71.

On July 22nd Account, he said the signatories were Alieu Ngum, Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay, Hassoum Ceesay and Abdoulie Sallah and was opened in September, 2008 and there was a cash deposit of D10, 000,and the balance was D9, 910 but this account never operated since it was opened.

The banker further disclosed numerous accounts operated by Kanilai Family Farms (KFF).

On KFF, Abattoir Savings Account, the signatories were Adama Jagne and the former president, opened in October, 2011 and the first transaction was on the 19 October, 2011 with a deposit of D25, 670 while the last transaction was on the 23 January, 2017, to the tune of D766, 981.66 which was debited to JFP.

On Kanilai Family Farm Garage account, the former president was the sole signatory and it was opened in November, 2009 and the first transaction was 10 November, 2009 to the tune of D2, 518, 953.75 and the last transaction was on the 1 August, 2010, with a transfer of D2, 600,000 to Central Bank of The Gambia for the purpose of auto mechanical works at Kanilai village, leaving a balance of D23, 529.24 and the account was not frozen.

On Kanilai Family Farm Sugar Book account, he said the sole signatory was the former president and it was opened in August, 2012 and the first transaction was on the 14 August 2012 with a credit of D324, 025 and the last transaction was on the 23 May, 2014, with a cash payment of D60, 000, leaving a balance of D264, 519.20.

On Kanilai Family Farms (Farms) account, the signatories were the former president and Pa Ousman Bojang, and were opened in September 2010 and the first transaction was on the 1 of September, 2010, in the sum of D50, 000.

Next to appear was the managing director, Standard Chartered Bank, Olukorede Adenowo, who was summoned in connection to the acquisition of Agro Oil Company plant by the then government and the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel in which the bank was involved.

Mr. Adenowo testified that he had a deal of the venture for Premier Agro Oil Company and the total value of the company was D49, 483,291.90, further stating that he had the title deed of the facility which was deposited at the bank and a copy of the judgment between Agro Oil Company, the bank and the second defendant.

On Kairaba Beach Hotel, the witness testified that he was in possession of the sale agreement between Millennium Industrial and General Trading Company and MA Kharafi and Sons dated 8 June, 2004. Asked how the bank got involved in the sales of the hotel, he responded that the bank was supposed to provide a working capital for the refurbishment of the hotel and they were supposed to have $2, 600,000 from the assumed price of $10, 000,000. He added that the bank would not release the hotel’s title deed if the debt was not paid and the facility was extended to the hotel as per the file.

According to him, the sale agreement explained how the $10, 000,000 was to be settled; adding that they would furnish the commission with the names of the shareholders of the Millennium Industrial Company.

Relevant documents relating to Agro Oil Company and sales of Kairaba Beach Hotel were admitted in evidence. Earlier the MD apologized for not appearing before the commission as he was out of the jurisdiction.

Author: Dawda Faye