Saturday, September 21, 2019

‘None Of My Client’s Companies Was Associated With Former President’


By Mamadou Dem

Mary Samba, attorney for Amadou Samba, yesterday informed the ‘Janneh’ Commission that none of his client’s Companies, was associated with the former president.

She then urged the Commission to discharge the interim order made against his client, Amadou Samba. Mary Samba made the statement while continuing her address before the Commission yesterday, October 4th, on issues affecting her client. She said Amabou Samba exclusively owns the Companies she mentioned earlier.

According to her, Mr. Samba testified before the Commission that the former president used to ask him to negotiate properties on his behalf, and then referred the Commission to some of the exhibits before it; that Mr. Samba explained the circumstances in which a property was acquired at Tobacco Road in Banjul.

On the Observer Company, she said the Commission was interested in the sale of the Company; that Mr. Samba was approached by one Thomas who said he was interested.

She further told the Commission that Mr. Samba told Thomas that he would transfer ownership of the Company to him; that the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company showed that there was transfer of ownership to Baba K. Jobe and others.

Continuing her address, she urged the Commission to accept the testimony of her client, regarding the sale of the “Observer” Newspaper; that the leased building at Kairaba Avenue (Traffic Light), was properly acquired in accordance with the 1997 Constitution and the Lands Act respectively.

Mary went on to say that it was confirmed by the former Minister of Lands, that the said property was allocated to Mr. Samba for commercial purposes. “There was no confusing evidence to show, that the land was acquired in the right way,” she submitted.

At this juncture, she referred the Commission to Section 13 sub-section 3 and 4 of the Lands Act, which she said explained the how lands are allocated. “I therefore urged the Commission to consider the laws for allocating lands and hold that the land was properly acquired by Mr. Samba,” she said.

According to her, there was an executive directive from the former president for the purchase of 5% shares of the Qatari Company by SSHFC; but that this was not a decision from SSHFC board of directors, which she said was just a rubber stamp board under the former president.

She further disclosed that Mr. Samba had explained to the Commission as to how this 5% share of the said Company was purchased. She then referred the Commission to Section 5 of the SSHFC Act which she cited to support her argument. “I have no doubt that these issues will be considered in your deliberation,” she said.

She further submitted to the Commission that Ousman Jammeh, former Secretary General, admitted that he signed a letter for a debt from SSHFC; that SSHFC’s former Managing Director Momodou Lamin Gibba and Finance Director Abdoulie Cham, had the responsibility to protect the funds of the Corporation.

Counsel Samba urged the Commission to hold the former president and Kanilai Family Farms (KFF) responsible for the withdrawal of funds from SSHFC accounts; that her client had no idea as to where the money for the Michel Jackson celebration came from, noting that public enterprises were controlled by the former government.

She further adduced that the former president was in control of all the institutions because he was a dictator; that directives from the office of the former president led to the circumstances in which they operated.

According to her, checks and balances, the rule of law and good governance, were not observed or protected under the former president and implore on the Commission to hold the former president responsible for the losses of some public institutions.

Ms. Samba pointed out that Momodou Sabally’s testimony corroborated her client’s evidence and urged the Commission to hold the former president accountable; that the withdrawal of funds was the directives of the former president and urged the Commission to discharge the interim order against Mr. Samba. She submitted that there was no evidence that her client benefited from the purchase of a water tank for KFF, and then urged the Commission to dismiss the evidence against her client in its entirety.

She finally submitted that none of the twelve Companies operated by his client, was associated with the former president.

At this juncture, Commission Counsel Bensouda, said she would reply to counsel Samba’s address. Chairman Sourahata Janneh then told the Commission that Counsel Mary Samba would be notified as to when Counsel Bensouda would reply to her address.

Ms. Victoria Andrews also continued her address on behalf of Muhamed Bazzi.

Sittings continue on Monday.

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