By Mamadou Dem
Doctor Tamsir Mbowe, former Director of Yaya Jammeh’s treatment programme, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that he has no idea whether the former president had registered to practice as Medical personnel.
Dr. Mbowe told Commissioners that the former president was the lead Doctor and he was the clinical expert of the Presidential Treatment Programme. He noted that he has not seen any certificate that confirmed that the former president was a Medical doctor, despite his claim of being one.
Dr. Tamsir Mbowe was summoned in connection to the motive behind the former President’s Treatment Programme.
The erstwhile Minister of Health and Director of Medical Services, gave a brief synopsis of his career as a medical practitioner and explained the various positions he held before he was appointed as Director General of the presidential treatment programme.
According to him, the treatment programme started in 2007 and that he was appointed as Director responsible for the clinical aspect of the programme to monitor the clinical conditions of the patients. Dr. Mbowe explained that an account was opened for the programme which he was a signatory to, together with Ansumana Jammeh and one Nyima Badjie. He noted that Ansumana Jammeh was responsible for the medications of the treatment programme. He confirmed signing a cheque and went on to throw light on the donation of funds by some institutions for the said treatment programme.
According to him, the funds were used to buy group uniforms for the treatment programme and other medical items as well as food stuff. He added that the programme was operated from State House, Ndemban Clinic and Kanilai, until 2017 when the former president went into exile.
He disclosed that Ndemban Clinic served as the registration centre for patients and that it was well equipped and functional at the time of the treatment programme.
He however pointed out that despite being the Director of the treatment programme and was paid by Jammeh monthly salary of D21,500, he did not have access to some of the records of the treatment programme; that he was verbally appointed by Jammeh and has no idea whether he was exempted from tax.
According to him, about 48 staff were appointed by Jammeh for the programme but he does not have the record of the staff. He was asked by Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda, to provide the list of all the staff and vehicles allocated for the programme.
He concluded by telling Commissioners that to the best of his knowledge, the treatment programme was successful during the cause of the treatment based on medical point of view, because the total number of deaths recorded during the treatment was less than six. Meanwhile at the beginning of his testimony, Dr. Mbowe’s attention was concentrating on the ceiling when he was responding to Commission Counsel Bensouda, as if something was talking to him from above. This surprised Commissioners and led to the Chairman’s intervention who asked him if something was wrong. He answered in the negative but told the Chairman that he did not know where the voice asking the questions was coming from. This was the time the Commission Chairman told him that he does not necessarily have to look at Counsel Bensouda constantly; but that it was also strange to look at the ceiling; that the microphones can be adjusted to suit his listening at any time.
Next to testify was Ya Mamba Njie-Keita, former PS at the Office of the former president. Her testimony was in connection to the office of the former president and certain accounts during the period she served at the said office.
Isatou Auba, also a former PS at the Office of the former president, testified in relation to Kanilai Family Farms ram sales and MRI accounts.
She was given a document which she confirmed, noting that she and Ya Mamba Njie-Keita were given directives or assigned to supervise the sale of rams; that the soldiers were selling rams but she could not name all of them; that when the soldiers collected the funds, they gave them the money to deposit into the account.
She further told the Commission that General Saul Badjie gave them directives to supervise the sale of rams; that she signed for the handing over of D2, 000,000 to Saul Badjie, who asked her to withdraw the money and gave it to him.
Mrs. Auba further told the Commission that Saul Badjie did not tell her ‘any authority’ to withdraw the said sum of money which was handed over to him; that this money generated from the sale of rams on cash basis. He also added the money deducted from the salary of civil servants that took “One by Six Loan”, was also deposited into an account.
At this juncture, she confirmed being a signatory to the MRI account but did not know the source of the account; that the former president instructed them to open the Presidential Project (PP) account.
Counsel Bensouda at this point put it to her that a request for the payment of the sum of D7,000,000 from the said account, was dated 16th July July 2015. The said request was shown to her and she confirmed it and said that it was a directive from the office of the former president to pay the said sum as a matter of urgency.
She said she did not know why the money should be paid to Ismaila Sanyang and did not know either whether the money was withdrawn by Mr. Sanyang; adding that she did not find out.
At this juncture, a document relating to the said sum was tendered and admitted as exhibit.
Another document was shown to her indicating that she signed for the withdrawal of D2,000,000 from the MRI account, which she confirmed and said there was a memo for her to withdraw the said money.
At this juncture, the said document was tendered and admitted as evidence.
Sitting continues today.