By Mamadou Dem
Ms. Laly Diab, former Managing Director of Unique Transport Services Company (UTSCO) and Sindola Safari Lodge, reappeared at the ‘Janneh’ Commission to answer questions on the issues relating to the transport Company and Safari Lodge. Ms. Diab who operates her family business, revealed that if the Barrow administration offers her the opportunity to render services, she would not hesitate to do so. Responding to questions from Commissioners Bai Mass Saine and Abiosseh George, Ms. Diab testified that Kanilai Farms owned a share of 79% of Sindola Safari Lodge, while Zainab Jammeh owned 21% on behalf of her children. According to Diab, she did not communicate directly with the former president, but used to prepare reports and minutes for him; that she did not meet the former president for a period of five years; that she has high regards for the former president and she practised within the parameters of her mandate and did her job and focused on her duties.
Ms. Diab further stated that even if the current Head of State requests for her services, she would endeavour to serve during her leisure time; that it could be due to the confidence the former president had in her, that she was appointed to run those businesses respectively. She however said she did not take any remuneration for the services, as she did not want to commit herself. She explained that she was not a member of any board neither was she involved in any executive; that the other reason for not taking salary or occupying any of the places she was supervising, was to protect her business interest.
“As an intelligent business person, you select where to make profits and if I had asked for money from the former president for my services, he would have obliged,” she said.
At this juncture, Commission Counsel, Mrs. Bensouda, asked her whether she furnished the former president’s residence at Kanilai. She responded in the positive and added that the former president used to buy furniture from them; that they also provided curtains for Cabinet and renovated the bathrooms; but that these supplies were never tendered.
On private matters, she said the former president used to send someone to her. Responding further on how she came to know the former president, she said she knew him when he visited the Emporium Complex.
She finally testified that she was not much friendly with the former First Family. She said she has donated to the first babies born in the year through Operation Save the Baby Foundation.
Prior to Ms. Diab’s testimony, the Managing Director of Trust Bank, Ebrima Sallah, reappeared in connection with various accounts opened by the former president. He gave a rundown of the accounts operated by Kanilai Group International (KGI) and Kanilai Family Farms (KFF) respectively; that KGI’s accounts were three in number and the first two were linked; that the account was opened in September 2010, and the signatories were the former president, Ahmed Hodrog and Pa Ousman Bojang; that the first transaction on this account was done on the 1st of September 2010, amounting to $114,280.96 and the amount was a transfer from one of the KGI accounts.
He told the Commission that the last transaction was done on the 10th of April 2013, with a sum of $39,500; that there was a balance of $230.10 in the account. The source of funding and payment were cash payments and the accounts were not frozen, he disclosed. He further noted that the account may be dormant by now. On KGI International (Main Account), he testified that it was a Euro account and the signatories were the same; that there was a letter of credit transfer of over $100,000 signed by the former Secretary General, Njogu Bah; that Pa Ousman Bojang was re-appointed Managing Director of KGI.
Dwelling on the KGI International Account (CRR), he said there was a dollar denomination account which was opened in August 2007 and Huja Gass Jaiteh Njie, was the sole signatory to the account; that the first transaction on this account was done on the 2nd August 2007, to the tune of $10,500 with the last transaction on the 15th September 2010, in the sum of $102,443.25; that the funds were deposited by Henny Mousa and Muhammed Mubarak but the purpose was not stated and no documents were attached to state the purpose of opening the account.
Still testifying on Kanilai Family Farms accounts, Sallah revealed that it was opened in September 2010, and the signatories were the former president and Pa Ousman Bojang; that there was a letter dated 3rd June 2009, signed by Pa Bojang, indicating that he should have access to all accounts belonging to KGI; that the first transaction was on the 4th of September 2009, from one of the accounts of KGI amounting to D50, 000; that the last transaction on this account, was done on the 11th April 2011, in the sum of D3,056.34; that the total deposit that went into the account was D50, 000. On KFF Butchery account, Sallah said it was opened in September 2010, and the former president, Pa Ousman Bojang and Ahmed Hodrog were the signatories.
He testified that the first transaction on this account was done on the 1st September 2010, amounting to D50,000 with the last transaction done on the 11th April 2011, in the sum of D47,927.17; that the total deposit into the account was D82,122, leaving zero dalasi as balance. On KFF Logistics account, Sallah said the sole signatory was the former president; that this was opened in September 2010, and the first transaction was done on the 8th of September 2010, in the sum of D100, 000 while the last transaction was done on the 11th April 2011, in the sum of D30, 241.69; that the total deposit was D138, 000. Further testifying, the banker disclosed that another account in the name of KFF Workshop was opened in 2009; that the signatories were Ensa E.K. Badjie, Sidat Gibba and Yankuba Jatta; that the total deposit into the account was D1, 313,296 and the first transaction was done on the 14th April 2009, with a sum of over D1, 000,000; that the last transaction amounted to D21, 350.
Another account Sallah revealed to Commissioners was the KFF Farato/Kanilai account opened in August 2010. The signatories to this account were Yankuba Jatta and Pierre Tamba; that the total deposit into the account was D485, 024 and the first transaction was done on the 30th of August 2010, in the sum of D359, 425 with the last transaction on the 28th of February 2014, in the sum of D10, 375 leaving a balance of D9, 550. 30.
On the KFF Abattoir account, Sallah stated that it was opened in March, 2010, and there was no transaction on the account and it was closed by the bank. Bundles of documents relating to these accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Hearing continues today.