By Mamadou Dem
The Managing Director of Kanilai Group International Worreh Njie-Ceesay, yesterday revealed to the ‘Janneh’ Commission that she was informed that a security unit under the former regime known as “Operation Bulldozer”, was used in recovering KGI’s debts.
However, Mrs. Ceesay was quick to say that she did not witness such an operation.
Mrs. Ceesay and the Managing Director of Gambia Food and Safety Quality Authority formally called Gambia Groundnut Corporation, were summoned before the Commission in connection to issues surrounding their Companies, including the transaction and purchase of tractors, among other related matters.
Worreh Njie-Ceesay, the M D of KGI who reappeared for the third time, cantered her evidence on the Japanese rice grant and the purchase of Mahindra tractors. She testified that there was a file purposely for the tractors but there was no account at the time she took over as M D of the Company.
According to her, the tractors were a grant to the former government but had no idea about them until when they talked to some customers; that this was the time they realised that there was a sort of down payments with regards to the said tractors.
The former Banker recollected that based on their findings and consultation with some of the customers, they found out that the Company owed the state the sum of D3.5 million; that the total cash she received from the rice debtors when she took over as the M D, was D1, 991,344 but she did not know the total outstanding balance of the debt when she was appointed.
She however pointed out that at the time of her appointment as MD, the total outstanding balance for the tractors was D1.4million.
Mrs. Ceesay categorically refuted any connection between KGI and West Wood Company but confirmed dealings with Euro Africa Group, for the supply of fuel to the Company; that she has no relation with businessman Amadou Samba, when she assumed the responsibility of MD of the Company.
At that juncture, Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda, asked her to provide her salary slip including the staff of the Company, noting that she has never received any bonus other than her allowance.
On the recovery of the Company’s debts, she revealed being informed that “Operation Bulldozer” was used in order to recover the debts but has never witnessed the operation.
Next to testify was Anthony Gabriel Carvalho, the Managing Director of Gambia Food and Safety Quality Authority formally called Gambia Groundnut Corporation, to shed light on the purchase of John Deere tractors.
Carvalho recalled that in 2012, the Corporation received a written information from the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, asking them to open a letter of credit at Trust Bank for the purchase of the said tractors from South Africa and that the sum of $2.5 million, was sent to the Bank and the Ministry respectively. Carvalho further testified that they later received a notice from the bank indicating that they have received collateral from the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC); that after due procedures were followed for the procurement of the tractors, the Bank spelt out their conditions.
According to him, the Ministry at the time could not open a letter of credit at the Bank because they did not have an account and the Corporation was requested to do so which they did; but that they never requested for the tractors at the time.
He expounded that the tractors were purchased but the Corporation was never refunded by the then Government and its apparatus, further stating that over D58 million was debited from their account with interest, for the overdraft.
Sittings continue today.