Aug 19, 2008, 9:03 AM
Three witnesses on Friday testify before the five-member panel of the Fertilizer Commission sitting at the High Court premises in Banjul.
Testifying earlier, Kebba Sallah, acting director for Career Development and Training, told the commission that he joined the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) in 2005.
Sallah adduced that his institution came to know about the procurement in 2009, when the Ministry of Agriculture wrote a request letter to the GPPA, for the evacuation of the said fertilizer.
He identified both the request letter and the reply letter, which were later tendered and marked as exhibits.
He said he did not see the contract document, because they were not informed about the contract, stating that the contract draft that was sent to the GPPA was not signed.
The witness identified the said contract draft, and it was tendered and admitted as an exhibit.
Still testifying, Mr Sallah told the commission that based on the GPPA Act, the contract for the procurement of the fertilizer was not in line with the GPPA Act.
He recalled receiving a letter from the Ministry of Agriculture dated 20 September 2010, requesting for the transportation of the fertilizer, adding that because the ministry of Agriculture did not submit the GPPA form that the ministry was supposed to fill, as such the GPPA refused the request.
According to him, the GPPA form would enable them to advise the Ministry of Agriculture on the most responsive transportation means, and added that the GPPA did not approve the Ministry of Agriculture’s request for the evacuation of the fertilizer.
Next to testify was Latchro Jammeh, a procurement officer at the Farm Management Rice Irrigation Project under the Ministry of Agriculture, who told the commission that he assumed the office in 2006, and his responsibilities included tendering and procurement for the project.
He said the position was advertised in the newspapers which he applied for and succeeded, adding that he was aware of the procurement of the fertilizer and chemicals, but the contract was signed by one Mbye Jabang, who was the manager of the Farm Management project.
The witness stated that he was not aware of the D75,000,000 contract fertilizer.
He added that he knows Alfu Marong, former PS at the Ministry of Agriculture.
The witness adduced that he also knew something about the 2009 fertilizer and pesticide issue, adding that he wrote a request letter to the GPPA for that matter.
Also testifying was Modou Sarr, Monitoring and Evacuation Officer Specialist at the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, who told the commission that he knew Alfu Marong, former PS at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Mr Sarr recalled that, in December 2010, he was going to the police headquarters in Banjul, and met with Latchore Jammeh, who asked him whether Alfu Marong was his relative, and that he responded in the affirmative.
“Latchore told me that Mr Marong was the Agriculture Regional Director at the North Bank Region in Kerewan, who said the 2009 fertilizer was good, and now he is requesting for the fertilizer to be re-tested and that could backfire on him Marong,” he added.
Sarr added that Latchore told him that Momodou Ceesay was the importer of the fertilizer, adding that he informed Marong what Latchore told him.