By Mamadou Dem
The Doyen of the Gambia Bar and Chairman of the on-going Commission of Enquiry, Sourahata Janneh, together with his colleagues, yesterday disclosed that the commission does not stop institutions from doing what is expected of them, so long as it is right and does not hinder their progress.
This development arose when Commissioner Abiosseh George asked Abdoulie Cham, SSHFC Finance Director, to give reasons why he said GTBank was not supposed to pay interest on a KGI loan facility amounting to D80, 000,000. Cham responded that he held discussions with the Managing Director of the bank who intimated to him that the matter is before the Commission; that there is a similar case relating to NAWEC; that when the Corporation attempted to sue the institution, they responded that the loan facility they took from SSHFC is also before the Commission.
Mr. Ebrima Sallah, Managing Director of Trust Bank Gambia Limited, yesterday reappeared before the Commission in connection with numerous accounts, namely MYJ Family Trust, United Sates Dollar Account, President’s Empowerment for Girls Education’s (PEGEP) current and savings accounts in dalasi as well as dollar denomination accounts, Higher Education Support account and Operation Save the Children account among others.
According to him, the MYJ account was opened on the 11th August 2010, and the signatory was Ahmed Hodrog; that the last transaction on this account was done on the 16th September 2010, with a total deposit of $4,104,000 while the balance was $386.19; that all funds were transferred to Paragon Title and SECON Company.
At that juncture, Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda, told Mr. Sallah to assist them with the source of these funds. However, he responded that all payments were done in cash and one of them was made by Ahmed Hodrog on the 19th August 2010, amounting to $1,000,000; that the first credits into this account was done on the 13th of August 2010, in the sum of $800,000; $125,000 and $75,000 respectively; but that there was no indication as to who made the deposits; that on the 17th of August 2010, there was a telex transfer of $1,000,000; that on 20th August 2010, there was a deposit of $1,000,000 by Mr. Hodrog while on the 23rd August, he deposited the sum of $500,000 and that on the 25thAugust, 2010, there was another transfer of $1,500,000 to the same Company authorised by Mr. Hodrog.
The Managing Director further testified that on the 2nd September 2010, there was a deposit of $1,000,000 and a transfer of another $1,000,000 on the 7th September, 2010, to the same Company; that there was a deposit of $300,000 on the 8th of September, the same year and there was a foreign transfer of $200,000 to the same person (Hodrog). He further stated that there was another transfer of $62, 610 on the same day.
Sallah disclosed that on 13th September 2010, there was a deposit of $ 270,000 and another deposit of $30,000 made by Ahmed Hodrog and the beneficiary was Ali Muhammmed Hijasy; that the sum of $4,000 was the final credit and there was a final debit of $100. All relevant documents relating to the accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits
On PEGEP, Sallah stated that there was a current account in dalasi and a dollar denominated saving accounts; that both accounts have the same signatories and the accounts were opened on the 16th October 2002; that the signatories to the dalasi account were the former president and Mambury Njie, then Permanent Secretary, office of the former president, and there were various signatories over the period. Mr. Sallah told the Commission that in July 2005, there was a deposit of D 102,771.44 and the last transaction was done on the 15thJanuary 2016, with the sum of D19, 801.16, further testifying that it was a corporate account and the purpose for it was educational.
According to Sallah, there was a total debit of D5,355,166.01 from the account and the last transaction was done on 5th April 2017, amounting to D10, 538.93 while there was another transfer of D3,785,000 leaving a balance of D95.92.
Sallah said the dollar account was opened on the 16th of April 2003, and the signatories were the same as that of the dalasi account; that the first transaction on this account was $4,784,478.30 and the last transaction amounted to $50,000 leaving a balance of $15,008.85.
On the Higher Education Support account, Sallah said it was opened in dalasi, on the 16th June 2009; that there was a credit of D10, 000 while there was a debit of D9, 475 and the signatories were Abdoulie Sallah and Njogu Bah; that there were only two transactions on this account.
He further revealed to the Commission that on the Higher Education Support Account, the first dollar account was opened on the 16th of June 2009, with a total credit of $3,914,653.82 and the last transaction was $1020; that the source of funding was from the Republic of China on Taiwan.
On the second dollar account, he alluded that it was opened on the 11th August 2011, with a credit of $71,093.30 and the last transaction was $10,483.13; that there was a balance of $4,438.02.
The last account he dwelled on was Operation Save the Children Account which he said was a current account in dalasi; that there was a total credit of D18, 288,137.60 while the last transaction was done on the 5th April 2017, subject to an order to freeze it; that the former Vice President and former First Lady were the signatories to the account and the sum of D48, 128.69 was the balance before the frozen order and the signatories did not change.
At that juncture, transaction documents as well as statements of accounts and account opening package were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Next to testify was Dominic Gomez, Head of Finance at Zenith Bank Gambia Limited. Gomez informed the Commission that the Managing Director of the Bank was out of the jurisdiction; that he has served the bank for 7 years.
According to him, the bank started operating on the 18th January 2010; that it was correct as alluded to by Counsel that he was summoned in relation to JFP dalasi account, MALIGAM International Accounts among others.
On the JFP account, he said it was opened on the 20th December 2012; that the signatories were Nancy Seedy-Njie and Ardy Sarge and the total credit into the account was D2, 849,906.50 and a debit of D2, 848,190.78; that there was a balance of D3, 234.28 and then on the 22nd of March 2016, the account was dormant.
On the MALIGAM International account, he revealed that Ansoumana Jammeh and Amadou Barry were partners and Mr. Jammeh, according to him, was the Chairman and MD; but that when he was appointed as ambassador to Qatar, he handed over to Sanna Bah as Managing Director.
At that juncture, the witness disclosed numerous MALIGAM accounts namely MALIGAM International Operation account, MALIGAM International Project account, MALIGAM International IPS account but was quick to add that all these accounts are now dormant and frozen.
Documents relating to these accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Mr. Abdoulie Cham, Finance Director at the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, while testifying for the second time, confirmed the purchase of 20 villas from TAF Holding Limited out of which 17 were sold to the former Government at a loss; that they sold 3 to AGIB, ACCESS and GT Banks respectively for an amount of D4, 000,000 per villa.
According to him, he did not see any correspondence from the office of the former president giving directives for the purchase of the villas; that this was a decision from the then management and was meant for investment purpose.
Correspondence between SSHFC, TAF Holding Limited and the Ministry of Finance regarding the purchase of villas were admitted as exhibits. On the loan facility of KGI amounting to $2,000,000 the witness said there is an outstanding interest of over D7,740,000 due to be paid by Guaranty Trust Bank.
Mustapha Njie, the proprietor and Managing Director of TAF Holding, was summoned in relation to the sale agreement of the villas between SSHFC and his Company. He disclosed to the Commission that out of the 44 AU villas, 20 were sold to SSHFC.
Documents relating to the sale agreement were admitted in evidence as exhibits.
Sittings continue today.