By Yankuba Jallow

Sheikh Sidia Bayo, a Gambian born but brought up in France, was on Thursday 7th December arrested at the Banjul International Airport, before departure from the country. His arrest came when a warrant was issued by the courts for failing to comply with the High Court judgment against him, which he did not abide by. In the judgement he was fined by the Court, to pay D1,709,546.45 together with another person, but are yet to comply with the judgment. When the case was called before Justice Buba Jawo of the Banjul High Court, Lawyers Anna Njie and Momodou W. Jallow, appeared for the judgement creditors, Coconut Company Limited and Coconut Residence and Spa, whilst Mr. Bayo appeared for himself.

Lawyer Anna Njie applied for the Court to grant her to examine Mr. Bayo, for failing to pay the judgement sum.

Mr. Bayo told the Court that he was in Dakar during the past political impasse and further said that he has no property in Senegal; that he has a car rental Company in France named Safa VTC which he said is registered in France with Bank Societe General. He further told the Court that he has no property in France but he has a property in the Gambia jointly inherited by his three sisters in Kotu. He also told the Court that he resides in Senegal on a temporal basis, but he is well known in Senegal through the Media; that he has reactivated his account in the Gambia at Access Bank and that it has only D2,500; that he has no car in the Gambia. “I do not have shares in any company in the Gambia but I will soon get shares from the investors (I have brought) who will invest in the country,” he said.

On his relationship with the investors, he told the Court he has brought them to invest in the country, Mr. Bayo said when President Adama Barrow went to France, he (Barrow) told him (Bayo) to look for investors to come to the country to invest. Mr. Bayo related this to his mission to the country by bringing in 9 investors during his trip; that they will invest in the areas of tourism, construction and energy, adding that those investors were invited through the Ministry of Finance (and Economic Affairs). He concurred with the Plaintiffs’ Lawyer, Anna Njie that he will gain from the transaction, 6% of the outcomes from all the investors; that some of the investors are from Morocco, Italy and Mexico, just to name few.

He denounced Lawyer Njie’s claim that he wants to venture into politics saying “I am more of a businessman who wants to help his country. I organised the recent UDP (United Democracy Party)’s congress in Paris because everyone knows that UDP is the majority and that President Barrow is from UDP. I don’t want to say politics in court”. He said he has no intention to register a political party in the Gambia; that he formed a political organisation in the year 2012 in Senegal when ex-President Yahya Jammeh was in power and named it the National Transitional Council Gambia; that the Senegalese Government during the Second Republic, provided him with two security men whenever he comes to Senegal; that he provided another one for himself and pays them all.

On his accommodations during his trip to the Gambia, he said he stayed at Coco Ocean and later transferred to his mother’s compound; that the two nights he spent at Fajara Water Front, one of the nights was paid by his Mexican partner and the other was paid for, by himself; that he later stayed at the Paradise Estate where he did not pay; that whenever he visits Senegal, he stays in expensive five-star hotels; that his earning last year was 55,000 euro from which he paid 12,000 euro as tax.

Lawyer Anna Njie, the Lawyer for the plaintiff, made an application for Bayo to provide the court a proof of his bank statement and for him to deposit his passport. The Court granted the application and ordered that he provides two sureties with title deeds worth D1,709,546.45.

The matter was subsequently adjourned to today Monday, at 2pm for continuation.

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