Works Ministry PS faces Janneh Commission

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mariama Ndure-Njie, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Works, yesterday testified before the Janneh Commission in relation to state’s aircrafts.

Mrs. Njie, who is the only PS at the Department of Works, explained that she was appointed in January, 2017, and said they had an update from Gambia Civil Aviation (GCA) with regard to the fleet of the aircrafts which was requested by the ministry.

According to her, there was a Cabinet conclusion that they should sell all the fleet of the aircrafts and the date of their meeting was on the 19 September, 2017. At this juncture, she read out a report of the conclusion of the Cabinet.

She said the ministry recommended that they should set up a taskforce to sell the aircrafts and the members of the taskforce were the Office of the President, ministries of Finance, Justice, Gambia Civil Aviation and Gambia International Airline (GIA). She said the taskforce was for the disposal of the aircrafts, which was set up on the 16 October, 2017, and that an evaluation was done.

Mrs. Njie further stated that they had a list of five aircrafts from GCA, noting that C5 RTG is currently due for heavy checks and there was a potential buyer. She added that they were furnished with the assessment of the aircraft but not their value. She explained that they were not abandoning the evaluation but were waiting for the taskforce to make an assessment.

She then named the list of aircrafts that were assessed by the GCA and the ministry, namely GAF Boeing 727 100, C5 GOG, Boeing B727 100, C5 AFT and Challenger CL 601 and air tractors, such as C5 DOA and C5 KSE.

She, however, stated that she was not aware that the one in Germany was included in the sale.

According to her, the DG of GCA on11 December 2017 wrote an update regarding the status of the aircrafts, further stating that she did not know whether an advertisement was made for the disposal of the aircrafts. Documents relating to the disposal of the aircrafts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Further testifying, the witness said their ministry did not have a copy of the agreement prepared by the Ministry of Justice in relation to the sale of the aircrafts; adding that the director general of GCA in his update outlined that Omega Company offered to buy the Jet Fighter and the air tractors to the tune of €100,000 while another company by the name West Africa Service changed from their initial offer from €100,000 to €240,000.

She finally testified that the ministry is now waiting for the DG of Gambia Civil Aviation to come up with a valuation of the aircrafts.

Next to reappear was the managing director of GT Bank, Ayodele Bolaji, who gave evidence on the accounts of Jammeh Foundation for Peace. He said the account was opened on 5 February, 2006, and the signatories were Kebba Manneh, Cherno Camara, Mr. Jassey, and Dr. Alieu Gaye among others. He added that the account is still operating and they got a court order to freeze it.

Mr. Bolaji revealed that there were three Dalasi accounts and the first account was funded from monthly subvention by government while the second saving account were payments from patients, and the third one was a current account.

He testified that the bank received a letter informing them about the change of name of the hospital to Bundung Maternal Child Health Hospital. Documents relating to the JFP accounts were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Mr. Bolaji further stated that there were two other Dalasi and a Dollar account for JFP and the first transaction on the dalasi account was on the 27 November, 2015 which was frozen and the last transaction was 4 January, 2016, leaving a balance of D1, 119.06 while the balance for the Dollar account was $8,340, and the first transaction on this account was on the 30 October, 2015 and the last transaction was on the 5 January, 2016.

According to him, there was a total deposit of $200,000 which was converted to dalasi; adding that the balance in the Dalasi account was converted to dollar on the 4 January, 2016 and the sum of $40,000 was withdrawn by one Yamundow Njie. He added that on the 3 January, 2017, the sum of $200,000 was transferred to CBG account in sequence and was converted to dalasi.

Mr. Bolaji also disclosed that they got instruction to transfer D3, 000,000 to JFP account on monthly basis. He is, however, expected to provide all the debit transactions on the Dollar account.

According to him, another dalasi account was opened on the 22 of April, 2009 while another one was opened on the 11 July, 2015; adding that a Dollar account was also opened on the 24 January, 2015, and there was a total deposit of D28, 869,260.20 and the balance is D323, 274.78, and the last transaction was on the 15 March, 2016.

He said on the 8 of February, 2017, the sum of D452, 950 was transferred to Trust Bank and $9000 was deposited into the dollar account of Staff Welfare Account which is now Bundung Maternal and Child Health Care and the signatories are the staff and is still operational.

Account opening information, statements of accounts and some transactions for both JFP and PEGEP were admitted as exhibits. 

Author: Dawda Faye