Wednesday, January 29, 2020

AT THE ‘JANNEH’ COMMISSION: ‘I Have No Vested Interest In GTG Company’ Amadou Samba


By Mamadou Dem

Business tycoon, Amadou Samba, while under re-examination, yesterday intimated to the ‘Janneh’ Commission that he had no vested interest in Global Trading Group, GTG; that he had no connection with GTG; that Muhammed  Bazzi was using his office at Gam Water and as a friend, he would not refuse to sign as a witness in one of the contracts awarded to him (Bazzi), by NAWEC hence there was no implication.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda told him that the first agreement was signed in 2001 while the second one was in 2002, and further told him that from the minutes of a meeting, it was stated therein that he represented GTG together with Bazzi; but Samba said that was a misrepresentation.

Samba said by looking at the minutes of the meeting, Counsel would realize that he did not contribute in the discussion; that he only accompanied Bazzi in that meeting.

Counsel Bensouda then reminded him that in 2002, he witnessed the signing of the Heavy Fuel Oil contract agreement, and he responded in the affirmative; that he was still accompanying Bazzi, because he was a stranger in the country.

On Global Electrical Group shares, he was told by Counsel Bensouda that Bazzi owns 99% shares while he (Samba), owns 1% which he confirmed. Mr. Samba said he was not in any way involved in the arrangement of the exclusivity granted to Euro Africa Group, for the importation of petroleum products.

Earlier, Victoria Andrews, attorney for Muhammad Bazzi and Fadi Mazegi, continued her cross-examination with the former secretary general, Momodou Sabally.

Sabally reiterated that he was secretary from June 2013 to June 2014. Counsel Andews put it to him that public servants presumed the former president had interest in businesses in The Gambia. He responded in the positive. Again, Counsel Andrews put to him that most investors who invested millions of dollars went to the office of the former president. He answered in the positive.

“Are you aware of any legal opinion from the Attorney General for the approval of the president?” she asked. “Yes, I am aware,” Sabally responded. Sabally was further asked whether the former president heeded what he owns from people around him and he responded in the positive; that if the former president gives instruction, it is between you and him.

According to him, the former president used people like Soul Badjie as shareholders in his businesses, further noting that the former president was not a loyal friend and would prosecute people if he wished.

Sabally told the Commission that the former president encouraged investment in The Gambia, both local foreign, further stating that Jammeh was particularly interested in energy, agriculture and manufacturing.

It was again put to him by Counsel Andrews that the office of the former president was highly involved in correspondence dealing with investors, and he replied in the positive. It was also put to him that investments of the former president included storage facilities and farming, and he responded in the positive.

The former secretary general testified that he was aware that the former president built a hotel. At this juncture, Counsel Andrews put to him that business interest of the former president competed with businessmen in The Gambia. He answered in the affirmative adding that he agreed that the former president micromanaged departments.

It was put to him that the office of the former president had visitors, both local and foreign and he responded in the positive. “Projects had to go to the office of the former president for approval,” Counsel Andrews told him. In response, he said some of the projects did not go to the office of the former president for approval.

Sabally adduced that everybody who was coming to The Gambia felt that power was centred with the former president, and this was why they went to him to seek his blessings; that the former president would approve the prosecution of cases and would tell the Attorney General to do what he wanted. He testified that the former president interfered with issues relating to NAWEC.

Earlier testifying, Adesina  Adebesin, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, who was summoned in connection to a transaction which was done on the 26 June, 2015, revealed that a transfer of $3,642,000 was made to T.K Exports in Dubai; that he had the instruction and the Bank statement. He further said that the instruction was given by Mobicel.

According to him, Babucarr Jabai and Aminata Sanyang were the signatories, and that Balla Jassey remained the only signatory to all the accounts. He adduced that the transaction was signed by Balla Jassey.

Isatou Jawara an official of the said Bank, who sat side-by-side with Adebesin, informed the Commission that the source of funds in the Bank statement was inflows from SESAM Informetic, MGI telecoms and Gamtel as well.

She testified that the balance was $3.8 million dollars and the transfer was to the tune of $3,693,296.45. She disclosed that the statement covered from 24th December 2011, to February 2018.

According to her, the dalasi account was opened on the 21st December2011 as well as the dollar account, further revealing that the Pound Sterling account was opened on 3rd January 2012, while the Euro account was opened on the 6th December, 2014.

The witness further disclosed that she was not present when the accounts were opened, and does not know Sanna Jarhu, former protocol at the office of the former president.

“Are you not concerned that you were parting with such a huge amount of money?” Commissioner Saine asked the witness. In response, she said she was concerned.

At this juncture, documents relating to the transactions were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Sittings continue today.

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