By Mamadou Dem
Lt. Colonel Musa Jammeh of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), yesterday on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff General Masanneh Kinteh, appeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission in connection to salaries and allowances paid to former Army officers.
In the same vein, Aisha Fatty, the proprietor of Metro Cosmetics Shop and former protocol officer at the office of the former president, also testified.
According to Jammeh, retired Captain Edward Singhateh received the sum of over D249,000 from 1st May 1994, to December 1996, while Captain Yankuba Touray was paid the sum of D393,833.70 from the period 1st May 1994, to December 1996. He said Captain Ebou Jallow was paid the sum of D116, 404.40 from 1st May 1994, to 31st December 1995.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked him why Ebou Jallow was called Captain and not retired captain. He responded that Captain Jallow did not retire from the Army but deserted. Further testifying before the Commission, he revealed that Retired Captain Lamin Karba Bajo, received over D237,000 from May 1994, to 31stDecember 1996. Documents relating to the salaries and allowances of the ten ex-army officers, were tendered and admitted in evidence. A letter written by the witness to the Secretary of the Commission on the said subject matter, was also admitted by the Commission.
Aisha Fatty was mentioned during previous proceedings of the Commission on properties owned by the former military aide and commander of the State Guard Battalion, Saul Badjie.
It was revealed to the ‘Janneh’ Commission by Inspector Lamin Sanneh of the Gambia Police Force (GPF); that one of the properties at Bijilo was managed by Aisha Fatty. The Commission therefore deemed it prudent to hear her testimony on the said property prior to admitting any document relating to the said property. She was then accordingly summoned to face the Commission and narrate her story.
On the day of Ms. Fatty’s appearance, she told the Commission that she lives at Bijilo and has a fashion and cosmetic shop called Metro. However, before she continued her evidence, Barrister C.E Mene announced his representation for the witness.
At this juncture, Commission Chairman Sourahata Janneh said they received a letter through the Secretary of the Commission to the attention of the Chairman. He said he read it and wanted Counsel Mene to confirm that he was asking for the sittings to be heard in camera (out of public hearing).
He consequently ordered that they would retire to Chambers and would be ready in 15 minutes. The matter was later heard in Chambers.
Testifying before the Commission, Ms. Fatty confirmed that she was asked to vacate the said property by the Registrar General; that she did not vacate the property because it belongs to her family.
According to her, she was working as a Protocol Officer at the office of the former president from December 2013 to December 2015. When asked if she had an appointment letter, she responded in the affirmative.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda told her that she was required to provide her appointment letter and business registration certificates; that she told Lt. Buba Jammeh that she earlier got a property at Sukuta but was duped, noting that Lt. Buba Jammeh told her that Saul Badjie would be able to help her.
She revealed that Saul Badjie was informed and he asked where the property was located, and was told by Saul Badjie, that he would be of help, and showed her a plot of land. She said Saul Badjie asked her where she would want the property to be situated, and she told him that she would want it to be situated within Senegambia.
She said subsequently, Saul Badjie told her about a land at Bijilo costing D450,000 which she bought, noting that her family agreed to contribute after informing them about the land; that she was not happy because the contractor was not regular at work and was very slow. She said she engaged another contractor by the name Talla Barry of Manjai, who completed the work while the first contractor was terminated.
On how she came to know Lt. Buba Jammeh, she said she knew him at State House as Head of Intelligence, at the office of the former president; that General Saul Badjie told her that they had a transfer from the Alkalo in her name, but she never saw the transfer.
She disclosed that she paid the said sum in 2014; that Saul Badjie gave her no receipt. She went on to say that the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Lands Buba Sanyang, in 2016 was doing the transfer of ownership but never gave her any document to sign.
However, Counsel Bensouda told her that the PS does not deal with the transfer of ownership of lands, noting that she banked with Guaranty Trust Bank and her salary as protocol officer was between D8,000 and D10,000. She revealed that she paid about D100,000 for the fence and foundation, further stating that she built the foundation around 2014 and it was completed in 2016.
Ms. Fatty confirmed that D2.3m was the cost of the building.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked her whether she had a contract with Talla Barry. In response, she said she has the contract at home and can produce it; that she paid Talla Barry D2.2m for completing the storey building.