#Article (Archive)

Sabally says Ndoye ‘brought vehicles for donation’ to President Jammeh

Jun 26, 2015, 10:58 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The former Secretary General and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Momodou Sabally, yesterday told the court that Alassan Ndoye brought vehicles for donation as gifts to President Jammeh, and not for sale as alleged before Justice Amadi of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.

Continuing his defence in the vehicle transaction between him and Alassan Ndoye, Sabally said he received Ndoye, Sheikh, and Jatta in his house.

He said PW1 introduced Ndoye to him as a Senegalese man who has vehicles to donate to President Jammeh.

He said Ndoye introduced himself as a contractor who had a registered company in the US, and further said he had two vehicles that he wanted to donate to President Jammeh.

Sabally asked for the cars and he was told the cars were outside his house. He added that the three of them (Ndoye, Sabally and Sheikh) went outside to look at the cars.

Sabally said the cars were two pickups of American brand and, upon enquiry, Ndoye told him the cars were used.

“I told Ndoye that the cars are good, but I cannot make a decision until I consult my boss,” he said.

“I went to State House that very day, and I spoke with General Saul Badjie about the two cars meant for donation to President Jammeh,” he said.

At that point in time the cars were left with the owner Ndoye, he said, adding that he later asked Ndoye to bring the cars to State House for inspection on the same day.

When the cars were brought to State House, he showed them to General Badjie in the presence of Lt Colonel Tamba and, when they saw the cars, General Saul Badjie thought they were good enough, and they should accept them as gifts.

He said he later spoke to the President about the cars, and the President concurred.

According to Sabally, on that very day there was a musical jamboree at July 22nd Square in Banjul at night, and he invited Ndoye to come and attend.

He said Ndoye came and had the opportunity to shake hands with President Jammeh during the ceremony.

“According to Ndoye, he spoke with the President for about 8 minutes. Where were you at that time?” counsel asked.

“I was at the Square sitting not very far from the President,” Sabally answered.

“Did you hear the President and Ndoye when they were speaking?”

“I object to the question, my lord, because it is leading,” state prosecutor O. Danso intervened.

“I overrule you,” said Justice Amadi.

“No, I did not hear them because there was a military band performing,” he said.

“Ndoye said he spoke to the President for about eight minutes. What do you have to say to that?” asked counsel.

“That is not true; it was just a courtesy handshake,” he said.

Sabally said that after the ceremony, Ndoye came to meet him again at State House with the vehicles and handed over the keys to the vehicles to Colonel Tamba and then proceeded to his office.

He said Ndoye said he had a vast network of business in the US, and proposed that he could bring investors to The Gambia, especially in the area of urban development.

Ndoye requested for him (Ndoye) to do that, so the government of The Gambia would need to pay the cost of his travels and hotel expenses and the same applies to the potential investors he would be bringing.

“I refused to accept the condition of cost of payment, and I told Ndoye that if he wanted to bring investors he is most welcome but the government could not pay for the cost of bringing the investors, because there was no guarantee that these are potential investors,” he said.

Sabally added that after this conversation with Ndoye, PW1 wanted to give him an envelope from Ndoye, which he said contained a document, which was brought to him by PW1 at his office at State House.

He did not receive an envelope from PW1 because there were a lot of documents on his desk at the time, and he feared it might get lost.

He added that PW1 told him later on that Ndoye wanted to come back to The Gambia to meet and conclude the deal.

“I was shocked, and I asked PW1: ‘what deal are you talking about?’ and he said the deal concerning the cars because Ndoye wanted money badly,” he said.

“I was very angry when PW1 told me this, because it was a shock to me that cars that were presented as donation to the President were now being spoken of as items to be paid for,” he said.

“I reminded PW1 that both he and Ndoye told me that the two cars were gifts for donation to the President, and I told PW1 that it will be over my dead body that I will go back to the President and ask him to pay for items that were presented to him as gifts,” he said.

Sabally added that PW1 later came back to him, and said Ndoye was no longer talking about payment of the vehicles; however, Ndoye wanted business contracts with the government.

“I told PW1 that I have no problem with Ndoye wanting to do business with government, but I will never allow Ndoye to use the donated cars to blackmail me for getting government contracts,” he said.

The contract documents were shown to him and he said he had never seen the documents before, and had no connection with the preparation of the documents.

Sabally added that Ndoye never mentioned the word “price” to him, and he never negotiated a price with him and he never told him to come back next week for his money.

He said he never sent PW1 to Ndoye in Dakar for any reason, and when both PW1 and Ndoye were in his house they never mentioned that the vehicles were for sale, in his house.

The case continues on 29 June 2015.