Thursday, October 17, 2019

Top Brass of GPA Appear Before Commissioners


By Mamadou Dem

Top Officials of the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), namely the Managing Director Abdoulie Tambadou, Deputy Managing Director Ousman Jobarteh and former Managing Director Lamin L. Sanyang, yesterday reappeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission in connection to GPA shares and investment on Gam Petroleum Company.

However, it was the first appearance of Lamin L Sanyang, the former Managing Director. Explaining the portfolios he held at the GPA, Sanyang told Commissioners that he was Director of Operations but prior to that, he was the Logistic Manager.

Abdoulie Tambadou, Managing Director of the Gambia Ports Authority, testified that he was the Director of Finance at the time and received a letter from the Ministry of Finance, asking them to invest on Gam Petroleum; that different directors made comments on the investment.

According to him, the letter received from the then Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, was attached with a letter from the office of the former president, signed by Dr. Njogu Bah; that Muhammed Lamin Gibba was the former Managing Director at the time. He said they sent a memo to the MD to implement the directives from the office of the former president.

Tambadou disclosed that there was is an evaluation before any investment was made; that they paid for the evaluation made on Gam Petroleum, by competent authorities. He said they were asked to continue with the investment by the Board of Directors in a form of a resolution dated 28th July 2008. Tambadou testified that the evaluation exercise was to quantify the value of the enterprise. He however said no due diligence was carried out.

At this juncture, the Deputy Managing Director of GPA Ousman Jobarteh, was given two reports prepared by DT Associates, and said he recollected the said reports.

Tambadou continued that they decided to investigate why the Company was making losses and not paying dividends as well.

Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda at this point, asked him what efforts the shareholders made to ensure that they were represented at the management level. In response, he said there were efforts to make sure that they were represented at management level and that unfortunately, their efforts did not bear fruit.

He said as Finance Director, he used to attend shareholders’ meeting with the Managing Director but that this was not frequent; that they never had 50% shares but 49%.

At this juncture, Jobarteh intervened and disclosed that SSHFC was asked to nominate a member to form part of the management for the investments made on Gam Petroleum, noting that one Lamin Sanneh, was chosen by SSHFC; that this Sanneh claimed he was not given any assignment and was isolated at GPA receptions.

He further told the Commission that he agreed with DT Associate representative when he was told that the representative’s firm adjusted the evaluation of Gam Petroleum to D32, 000,000; that the shareholders said something must be done with the management of Gam Petroleum; that the shareholders took a decision that the management of Gam Petroleum should be restructured.

Sanyang came in again and said he was involved in Gam Petroleum matters around 2015. He confirmed that a representative of DT Associates was insulted at their meeting, but could not remember the conclusion of the said meeting; that it was tough.

According to him, he was called after the meeting which was also attended by the former Governor of the Central Bank Amadou Colley; that they were told the shareholders decided to buy 10%, further stating that there were financial instructions from the Ministry of Finance.

He further testified that they were asked to pay to CBG under the directive of the then Minister of Finance; that he was threatened to lose his job, if he did not pay and recommended that all the expatriates should be terminated.

At this juncture, Tambadou intervened and said he did not agree that proper evaluation of Gam Petroleum was done; that they received a statement of affairs but not an evaluation exercise from DT Associates.

Documents relating to Gam Petroleum were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that a sum of D271, 200 was land rent for the lease, and he responded that this included some arrears. He further testified that they received shares certificate before 2011.                    

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