By Mamadou Dem
Momodou Lamin Sonko, Country Coordinator for MA Kharafi and Sons while making clarifications on the acquisition of Kairaba Beach Hotel by the former President Yahya Jammeh, confirmed that business tycoon Amadou Samba, was indeed involved in the sale of the said hotel.
According to him, the testimony of Lang Conteh was indeed correct in relation to the said hotel; that the Management of Kairaba was handed over to Mr. Samba; that Amadou’s sister Mary, represented MA Kharafi during the sale of the hotel and demanded the sum of $15,000.00 as legal fees for preparing the sale agreement document.
Mr. Sonko testified that they agreed for the new leased documents to bear the name of MA Kharafi but was quick to add that he is not sure whether they were given the new tittle deed; that at the time of the sale, the hotel owed the Standard Chartered Bank the sum of $2.6 million.
On the endorsement of the Sales agreement by Lawyer Edward Gomez, the witness said he never met Mr. Gomez during the course of their transactions and therefore does not know how this came about; that Mr. Amadou Samba represented the former president on the purchase of Kairaba and he signed on his behalf.
At that juncture, the witness made reference to a letter written by Mary Samba in connection with her legal fees which was admitted as exhibit.
“At the time of the purchase of the Hotel, I used to go with Amadou Samba to the Standard Chartered Bank,” he adduced. He said there was a specific manager to MA Kharifi’s account at the said bank.
On whether capital gains tax was paid, the witness revealed that he spoke to former president Jammeh about this but he responded to him that Amadou Samba will handle it. However, Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda, asked the witness to inform MA Kharafi and Sons to produce all the relevant documents relating to Kairaba and also inform them about the outstanding sum of $2,000,000.00 owed to the Central Bank of the Gambia, by the Hotel.
Correspondence between Mary Samba, Solicitor for Kairaba Beach Hotel and MA Kharafi and Sons and Standard Chartered Bank among others, all in relation to the sale of the Hotel, were admitted as exhibits.
At that point, the witness observed that the Sales Agreement tendered before the Commission and the one in position of MA Kharafi were at variance. Documents between Millennium Industrial Investments, General Trading and MA Kharafi relating to the same hotel were also admitted as exhibits.
Looking at a power of attorney, the witness told the Commission that it was the first time he saw that document.
Hearing continues today.