By Mamadou Dem
Natalie Gomez-Ceesay, former Protocol Officer at the office of the former president, yesterday appeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission in connection to a property she currently occupied at Kololi.
She testified that she was a protocol officer attached to the office of the former president from 2009 to 2011, November; that she is now studying Law at the University of The Gambia. She said it was correct that she was summoned in connection to the said property.
Before continuing her testimony, she was given her statement, which she confirmed. She then signed it before the Commission and went ahead to confirm that she was occupying the property.
She told the Commission that while at State House, the former president told her that he was interested in her father’s land situated at Nemakunku, to build an estate. She said they, as a family, agreed to transfer the land to the former president without giving them anything.
According to her, the former president asked her what she was going to do with the money given to her by her father, and she responded that she was going to build a house; that few days later, the former president called her again and informed her that he had a property at Kololi and would transfer it to her name. She revealed that after the transfer, the documents were given to her by Amadou Samba; that it came to her knowledge that her father talked to the former president; that the former president told her that she should go back to tell her father that he wanted the land.
She further told the Commission that her father asked her how the former president knew about the land; that she told her father that she did not know. She testified that her father told her that he would transfer the land to the former president.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked her whether she was aware that her father’s transfer of ownership was not completed but she responded that she had no idea. It was put to her that her father told the Commission that he gave the land to the former president without any consideration. In response, she confirmed that she heard her father say so.
Counsel Bensouda put it to her that the said land belongs to Kainilai Family Farmers, and she answered in the positive. However, she said her father’s land cannot be compared to the house given to her by the former president; that she was told that the said property was owned by one Bojang who had a financial problem and sold the land to the former president.
At this juncture, her statement dated 10th March 2018, was tendered and admitted as exhibit.
Earlier, Kumba Jobarteh, who confirmed to be a friend of Aisha Fatty for some years, also testified before the Commission in relation to a property situated at Bijilo, which Aisha Fatty claim as owner.
She stated that she is a businesswoman, and has a fashion shop called Dada’s at Kotu; that she knew Aisha fatty through her aunt; that Aisha Fatty was working at State House.
The businesswoman further testified that she did not know General Saul Badjie, and she never met him.
At this juncture, she was given a document which she said she signed as witness for Aisha Fatty, but prior to that, she said Aisha told her that she bought a house and wanted her to serve as a witness on the transfer of ownership certificate. According to her, she had been to the house but could not remember the date. She disclosed that she made a statement to the investigators.
At this juncture, she was given a statement which she went through and confirmed that she signed the said statement.
It was put to her that she signed as a witness for a transfer of ownership which she said was prepared by Saul Badjie. Counsel Bensouda then asked her how she knew that it was prepared by Saul Badjie. In response, she told the Commission that she was told by the investigators that the house was sold to Aisha Fatty.
Further testifying, she stated that she does not know whether Aisha Fatty gave money to Saul Badjie.
At this juncture, the statement signed by her and dated 26th January 2016, was tendered by Counsel Bensouda. It was put to her that the date written on the transfer of ownership was 17th February 2015. She responded that the document was not brought to her to sign as a witness in 2017.
The Commission resumes sitting on the 31st October 2018.