By Mamadou Dem
Prince Ibrahim Sanyang, a business tycoon, yesterday faced the ‘Janneh’ Commission in connection to Companies he operated or was about to operate in the country.
Prior to dwelling on the subject matter, he was asked to explain how he got the title of prince. In response, he said he was traditionally crowned; that he is professionally an investment banker, and an economist; that he is the custodian of Kitisoto and eight other sacred sites at Batelling, in Kiang West District, in the the Lower River Region.
According to him, his title dates back to the Mali and Karbou Empires. At this juncture, Chairman Sourahata Janneh asked him whether as a professional investment banker, he owns a bank, and he responded that it does not necessarily mean that he owns a bank. Again, Chairman Sourahata Janneh asked him whether he owns a bank, and he repeated the same answer. As a result, Chairman Sourahata Janneh told him that he had to be disciplined, because he is a prince. Then he told the Commission that he did not own a bank.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine put it to him that being an investment banker, does not make him a banker. In reply, he said Commissioner Saine’s understanding was limited.
Consequently, Chairman Sourahata Janneh intervened and told him that ever since the Commission started, they had never used their power to deal with undisciplined people; that if any King sits before them, they would treat him the same way; that he was at the Commission to answer questions and not to ask questions. Chairman Janneh told him that they are not afraid of anyone appearing before them.
On Royal Africa Capital Holdings Limited, Prince Sanyang told Commissioners that he is the owner and has a 90% share while Sanna Jaiteh and Seedy Darboe, are also shareholders; that he gave Ansoumana Jammeh 10% nominal share, but took it from him.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda showed him some bank accounts from Eco Bank and told him that all the accounts indicated that Ansoumana Jammeh, was a signatory. In response, he said some of the accounts were dormant; that they removed Ansoumana Jammeh from those accounts.
He was again shown Africana Financial Services document, which he confirmed. He said the Company operated in The Gambia and the property where it was operating from is his; that he is not operating from Ansoumana Jammeh’s property.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda told him that he told Augustus Prom that the property from where he was operating, belongs to Ansoumana Jammeh, which he denied.
He alleged that he gave Ansoumana Jammeh the sum of D1.5m, to buy the property for him and put up some buildings to run his businesses; that he was not provided with a title deed but a mere receipt and that Africana Financial Service is not operating because it has been closed down by the Government.
On Africana Airways, he said it operated as a Company and it had a plane; that one aircraft came to The Gambia and that all the aircrafts went through GCAA for certification.
It was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that since September 2016, there was no transaction in some of the accounts. In response, Prince Sanyang said his life was threatened and was asked to pay D10, 000,000 which he said, was an executive directive. He said as a result, he left the country but later came back in December 2016, to continue his business.
Counsel Bensouda at this juncture, put it to him that Augustus Prom said his Companies were yet to operate and were dormant. In response, he said he did not say so.
Prince Sanyang told the Commission that he did not have micro-finance license; that the processing of his aircraft was not completed because of the freezing of his properties.
He further adduced that he was not given a license to operate a radio and television station; that Africana Insurance Company could not proceed to operate, because of the freezing of his Companies.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that there were copies at the office of the Registrar of Companies to show that Ansoumana Jammeh’s shares had been rescinded. Documents relating to his Companies were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Barrister Ida Drammeh testified in relation to the sales of “Observer” Newspaper Company, as she was the attorney for Kenneth Best at the time. Documents relating to the Company were admitted in evidence.
Hearing continues today.