By Awa B. Bah
Permanent Secretary one Ministry of Finance Abdoulie Jallow on Monday 21st August, 2017 appeared before the commission of enquiry into the assets and financial transactions of former President Yahya Jammeh.
PS Abdoulie Jallow was summoned on accounts that were opened at the central Bank of the Gambia namely the Carnegie Mineral Account numbered 1101002647 and 01201200366, as well as the heavy minerals deposits accounts, sand mining accounts, Gambia Africa Mining International Company Limited, Gameco Training Account with other government accounts.
When asked whether he knew these accounts, PS Jallow in his response admitted that he knows this accounts because these accounts were authorized to be opened through the ministry of finance except the sand mining account. Jallow said the office of the president wrote to them for the opening of these accounts which directive were implemented.
The Carnegie Minerals accounts request letter he said were opened on the 23rd November 2006 from the office of the president requesting the opening of a special account called the Carnegie Mining Account signed by Fansu Nyassi on behalf of the Secretary General and head of the Civil servants.
Jallow said they wrote to the Acting Director of Treasury instructing him to open the directive account at the Central Bank of the Gambia dated 4thDecember 2006. The reply letter he said was written by Alieu Bah on behalf of the Permanent Secretary Baboucarr Jallow.
Jallow was asked if it required the approval of the minister to write for the account to be opened. Jallow responded that according to the Government Budget Management and Accountability Act the Permanent Secretary can authorize the opening of government bank accounts. According to the Act, Jallow read section 14 saying a person shall not open an official account in any domestic or foreign accounts without the authority of the Permanent Secretary.
Jallow said the letters referring to the opening and changes of signatories to the account including the letter from The Treasury to the Central Bank was not found. Jallow said a letter indicated change of signatories was written on 5th February 2015 signed by Ismaila Sanyang Permanent Secretary from the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Servants Office.
He was asked for the letters from the office of the president that were written to his office. After producing the letters, all letters in relations to the Carnegie mining accounts were admitted in evidence marked NS1.
To the heavy Mineral Deposits account, Jallow said this is the heavy mineral operations bank account request which was written by the Ministry of Finance on 7th August 2006 to the Director of Treasury to open a heavy Mineral Deposits bank account. The second letter he said was dated 1stAugust 2008 from the office of the president to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance requesting the opening of the said Bank account. Jallow said a correspondence from the Geological Department wrote to the Ministry of Finance requesting on the same subject dated 30th July 2008 for the account to be open.
Another letter Jallow said was from the Geological Department to the ministry of Finance requesting the opening of the same bank account. According to Jallow, on 13th August 2008, a letter from the Central Bank of the Gambia was received by the ministry of Finance written to the director of Treasury notifying them that the said bank account has been opened.
According to Jallow, on 12th August 2008, a correspondence from the directorate of National Treasury addressed to the First deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia requesting for the opening of the Bank Account. He said they also on 3rd October 2016 received a request letter on changes of signatories to the account from the office of the president to the Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia with a list of the signatories to the account. Jallow said the purpose for the opening of the account was to log proceeds from heavy minerals. He said these accounts are opened separately and managed independently by the account holder. The accountant General he said only manages accounts that are under their control but they facilitate the opening of a special account.
When asked about the funds that are generated from royalties. Jallow in his response said this fund should be part of the consolidated funds. The accounts opening documents for the heavy mineral operation account deposits for the Geological department accounts number 01201200416 were tendered and admitted and marked as NS2.
For the Sand Mining Account, Jallow said there are no records in their office showing that the Ministry of Finance authorizing the opening of the account but there are documents related to the opening of the account mainly from the Central Bank of the Gambia.
These documents he said shows that the Central Bank of the Gambia wrote to the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Servants informing them of the opening of the Sand Mining Account in response to a letter received from the office of the Secretary General. Jallow said there is also a letter dated 17th June 2013 from the office of the Secretary General addressed to the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia requesting for the opening of the said account. Another Letter he said is from the Office of the President to the Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia notifying them of change of signatories to list of accounts and the sand Mining Account dated 2nd February 2015.
Jallow said there was another letter from the Office of the President to the Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia on 5th February 2015 notifying them of change of signatories to a list of accounts including the Sand Mining Account.
A letter also on 1st September 2014 addressed to the Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia notifying them of change of signatories to a list of accounts including the Sand Mining account. Another change of signatories of account Jallow said was written from the Office of the President to the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia on 27th July.
He said a change of signatories of account to a list of accounts including the Sand Mining Account was written from the Office of the President to the Governor of the Central Bank. According to PS Jallow the Ministry of Finance was not involved in the opening of the accounts and they obtained these documents from the Central Bank of the Gambia.
Jallow was asked if there is any law that allows the office of the president to open accounts directly at the Central Bank of the Gambia. Jallow responded no. The account opening documents for the sand mining royalties account dated 17th June in central Bank for the office of the president account number 1101004139 were admitted and marked as NS3.