By Mamadou Dem
Senior Counsel Sheriff Tambadou, yesterday September 5th 2018, while addressing the Commission on behalf of Tony Ghattas, the former Managing Director of APAM, submitted that the former president alone should be held accountable for causing monetary losses to the Mining Company, and not his client. Tambadou submitted that the said Company was created by the former president.
Prior to his address, Muhammed Manjang, Managing Director of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, told the Commission that the €6,000 deducted from the electricity bills and rentals of Ocean Bay and Sun Beach Hotels, was not justified by BPI Investment Group.
Manjang was summoned in connection to the lease of Ocean Bay and Sun Beach Hotels respectively.
He said he became MD of SSHFC on the 7th of March, 2017; but that prior to this, he was an employee of the Standard Chartered Bank. At this juncture, two statements were given to him, for him to go through, which he did and confirmed that they were his.
Barrister Musa Batchilly applied to tender the statements as exhibits which was granted by the Commission. Lawyer Batchilly read the first paragraph of the statement to the witness, which was dated 19th July, 2018.
Manjang testified that the statement read to him by Counsel Batchilly was in connection to the leasing of Ocean Bay and Sun Beach Hotels; that BPI was to pay in quarterly payments in advance and that what was outstanding, was over D2, 000,000.
According to Manjang, they wrote to BPI during his time, to settle their lease rentals and electricity bills; that he understood that BPI would pay the full arrears of the electricity bills but they did not.
He adduced that BPI deducted €6,000 from the rentals and electricity bills; that they provided them with receipts but he said the deduction by BPI for the rentals were not justified.
Manjang was again given five letters which he went through and said he recognized them. The said letters were subsequently tendered and admitted as exhibits.
He revealed that BPI owed SSHFC €78,000 as rental for Ocean Bay Hotel, and $30,000 rental for Sun Beach Hotel; that BPI owed Ocean Bay Hotel over D8, 000,000 and over D2, 000,000 to Sun Beach Hotel as electricity bills respectively. He said BPI did not settle what they owed and they appealed to be given time to settle their debt but they only paid D5,000,000 for the electricity bills and quarterly rentals.
Manjang confirmed that the title deeds of the hotels are not with SSHFC and it was not part of the agreement for BPI to be in possession of the title deeds; that they wrote to BPI to get back the title deeds but they were not successful.
According to Manjang, the sum of €2,000,000 was supposed to be spent on Sun Beach Hotel for renovation, by BPI; that BPI said they would do the renovation as per their price.
Manjang further told the Commission that looking at what was done, BPI did not spend €2,000,000 on the renovation of Sun Beach Hotel.
Earlier, Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service and Presidential Affairs Minister, was shown an exhibit. However, Sabally said the exhibit was a directive from the former president for the leasing of the said hotels; that he was present when the former president was discussing with the Gambian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, for the leasing of the hotels.
Sabally disclosed that the leasing of the hotels were inspired by the former president, and that they were leased to BPI investors. At this juncture, he was given a letter dated 18th July, 2018, which he confirmed he signed.
Sabally adduced that he did not know whether there were other offers for the leasing of the hotels neither did he know whether the former president was aware of these offers. He told the Commission that it was not necessary for SSHFC to take instructions to lease the hotels.
At this juncture, some extra letters were given to him to go through, which he did. The said letters were tendered and admitted as exhibits. Again, another letter was given to him indicating that SSHFC was seeking approval from the former president to lease the hotels, and responded that this was normal.
However, it was put to him by Counsel Batchilly that because of the interest of the former president, the management of SSHFC and board, decided to lease the hotels to BPI.
Lamin A.K. Touray, the Registrar of Companies, was cross-examined by Lawyer Mary Samba on behalf of Amadou Samba.
Touray testified that his duties are to register Companies, charitable organizations, business entities and individuals, and any other duty or duties assigned to him by the Solicitor or the Attorney Generals respectively.
At this juncture, Lawyer Mary Samba informed him that he was served to produce some documents such as the Memorandum and Article of Association, and was given some documents to go through. Touray confirmed certifying the said documents stating, that he has the file of Alfon Gambia Limited at the Attorney General’s Chambers. He testified that the Company was incorporated in 1986.
Next to be cross-examined by Lawyer Mary Samba was Alieu Jallow, the Registrar General. Jallow told the Commission that he is responsible for the registration of trade unions, deeds, marriages among others.
Counsel Samba told him that he was required to produce some documents and the said documents were given to him, which he confirmed.
At this juncture, Counsel Samba applied to tender the said documents as exhibits, which was granted by Commission Chairperson Sourahata Janneh. Jallow disclosed that he certified the said documents.
Sittings continue today.