‘We were forced to sign documents’

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lang Conteh yesterday told the Janneh Commission that they were forced to sign documents.

He was explaining how the former president took over ownership of Kairaba Beach Hotel.

He said he and Baba Jobe were invited by the former president, who told them he would transfer ownership of the hotel to Amadou Samba.

He adduced that they told him that they should transfer the management to Amadou Samba, adding that they received a letter indicating that the management of the hotel was transferred to Amadou Samba.

Mr. Conteh posited that Amadou Samba found him at the hotel and he told him that the management was transferred to him.

He said from there, he had nothing to do with the hotel.

He testified that he resigned and was arrested and detained for 7 months, further noting that Baba Jobe was also arrested and detained.

Mr. Conteh disclosed that they were put on pressure by the NIA to transfer ownership to the former president, adding that he was escorted to the director general of NIA, and asked to sign some documents and were told that they would then gain freedom.

He testified that Mr. Ousman Sowe was in charge of his case with one Sheikh Omar Jeng.

He stated that they were not allowed to read the documents.

Mr. Conteh narrated that he could not read what was on the letterhead, further stating that he asked them to allow his lawyer to be present but they refused.

He adduced that Baba Jobe was handcuffed, adding that they signed because they had no choice.

He stated that they were rearrested for another month, revealing further that he was tried and sentenced.

Mr. Conteh disclosed that there was nothing on the charge sheet which stated anything about Kairaba Beach Hotel.

He testified that he could recognise Baba Jobe’s signature.

At this juncture, he was given some documents to confirm whether they were Baba Jobe’s signatures, but he said the documents were forged.

Mr Conteh posited that Baba Jobe was his close friend, further stating that he had seen Baba Jobe’s signature many times, because he did business with him.

He narrated that his lawyers wanted to defend him when he was charged, adding that the state did not want the issue of Kairaba Beach Hotel to be mentioned at the court.

Mr.  Conteh said that he was told that they would go for plea bargain for lesser sentence.

He revealed that state guard soldiers went to Camelot and confiscated it, adding that he went to Dakar in exile for seven years after his conviction.

He adduced that apart from Kairaba Hotel, the contact he had with former president was when the former president withdrew some money from the Central Bank.

Mr Conteh adduced that the bank wrote a petition to tell the former president that he should not withdraw monies from the bank, and that they also informed the former vice president that the former president took D10, 000,000 from the bank.

He said this was reported to the IMF, further noting that the NIA officials took all the documents he kept at his home.

Mr Conteh testified that Baba Jobe transferred 49% shares to him, further stating that there was no personal incentive in the transaction.

He said that the former president did not pay anything in the acquisition of the hotel.

Adama Njie was the next person to testify.

She said she is a public servant and is working at the Ministry of Environment, but had also worked at the Office of the former President as an accountant.

She adduced that her duties were payment of per diems, adding that from 2011 to 2016, the former president was given D302, 000,000 as per diem.

Mrs Njie said that over D7, 000,000 per diem was paid to the former president and delegation, adding that D69, 600,000 was paid to the former president as per diem for six trips.

Author: Dawda Faye