Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Aviation Safety Inspector, KMC CEO, Lawyer Appear at ‘Janneh’ Commission


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By Mamadou Dem

 Mr. Malick Njock-Jagne, Aviation Safety Inspector at GCAA, Pa Kalifa Sanyang, Chief Executive Officer at the Kanifing Municipal Council and lawyer Loubna Farage, yesterday appeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission in connection to state aircrafts, acquisition of Mahindra tractors supplied by KGI and minutes of meetings surrounding the Gam Petroleum Company’s Storage Facility. Mr. Sanyang informed the Commission that he served as CEO for three years but prior to this, he was the Public Relations Officer from the 6th of May 2002, until March 24th 2009; that he had served the Council for 16 years.

Mr. Sanyang informed the Commission that he was aware that tractors were supplied to them based on a purchase order; that he had a copy of the order for the purchase of the tractors; that the supply of tractors by KGI was subjected to bids and KGI happened to be the winners. He disclosed that there was a letter dated the 12th of January 2008, instructing Guaranty Trust Bank to debit the sum of over D9, 000,000; that he had a statement from the bank showing the debit from KMC account which he said did not reflect any other thing apart from the purchase of dollars from the bank.

When asked by Counsel Bensouda, he responded that he did not have documents to show that they had paid KGI for the purchase of the tractors; that he did not have documents as to what KGI did with the money. He however said he had formally requested from the bank to avail him with some financial transactions between KGI and KMC, but the bank had asked for some time to furnish him with the documents required. The former mouthpiece of the KMC indicated that he was not aware of any other transaction between KGI and KMC, apart from the sale of tractors; that the tractors were used for house to house refuse collection, but they are obsolete at the moment. At this juncture, the bank statement and documents relating to the sale of the tractors were admitted as exhibits.

Next to testify before Commissioners was Malick Njock-Jagne, an Aviation Safety Inspector, who deputized the Director General of the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), who is said to have travelled to France.

Giving a brief background of his work place, Mr. Jagne said he served the institution for 21 years; that the reasons for his appearance on behalf of the DG was because of the subject matter before the Commission.

Mr. Jagne was reminded about the state aircrafts and responded that the Challenger 601 was under maintenance in Germany and by the time they started the process, there was a change of government. He testified that they waited for the new Government to take a decision and the aircraft was parked at the commercial area of the German Airport in Germany; that the cost was to be paid for the stationing of the aircraft in Germany; that when the new Government assumed office, GCAA were invited and they made some recommendations for the disposal of the aircrafts.

Mr. Jagne further stated that a taskforce committee was set up and they had a meeting with the Ministry of Works; that the aircrafts had not been valued and there was no evaluation report either, because it had to be paid for. According to Mr. Jagne, evaluating the aircrafts would add more cost and would not give assurance that once valued, you would get the particular price you yearned for.

Mr. Jagne disclosed that for evaluation to be done online, they needed to pay $5000 for each aircraft. However, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that it was exorbitant to pay $5,000 for the assessment of the aircrafts. Mr. Jagne told Commissioners that the state of the aircrafts was that you may get one or two offers, and you choose one; that the loss had already been done.

On whether they requested or allocated a budget from cabinet in order to enable them do the evaluation for the disbursement of the aircrafts, he replied that this was beyond his knowledge; that cabinet was advised to provide them with money for the assessment of the aircrafts.

Counsel Bensouda further intimated to him that the right procedure and the right personnel were supposed to be involved as required by law, for the evaluation and disbursement of public assets.  Commissioner Saine also added that it was paramount for the evaluation to be done on the aircrafts, as this would safeguard the integrity and credibility of the GCAA. Documents such as Draft non-Exclusive Aircrafts Agreement and related documents, were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Next to testify was Ms. Loubna Farage, Company Secretary for Petroleum Storage Facility. She told Commissioners that she was the solicitor of the Company prior to her appointment as secretary in 2009; that it was correct she was summoned to produce minutes of meetings of the Company, as well as board and sub-committee meetings which were admitted in a bundle as exhibits, from 2008-2017.

Meanwhile, the Commission will resume proceedings on the 8th of January, 2018.

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