8 November 2017

Gambia: Former Govt Executives Testify Before 'Janneh' Commission

The former Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, Dr Kalilou Bayo and the Human Resource and Admin Manager at the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation Babucarr Foon, yesterday appeared before the 'Janneh' Commission. The Commission resumes from a short recess that started on the 25th of last month.

When he was called, Dr. Bayo testified that he is a retired Civil servant but currently a researcher and Writer and also provides consultancy services; that he was appointed as Secretary General in 2014 to early 2015. Dr. Bayo was summoned to explain monies withdrawn from Access and Sky Bank while serving in the said portfolio and also as a signatory to the accounts.

Explaining his functions or duties as Secretary General, he said he used to advise the president on certain issues regarding file work and speech writing. He said the Secretary General is the accounting officer at the office of the president but that he did not have all those powers vested in accounting officers.

According to him, he was asked to submit his signature to a certain account which he said he had no knowledge of and which bears many signatories to the said account; that he asked for those signatories to be removed but his request was turned down after writing a memo, and had no choice but to be a signatory to the account.

The witness further testified that he was a signatory to the GNPC account together with the former president, noting that the $100,000.00 paid to Sanna Jarju on January 16th 2014, bears his signature; but that he was not in office by then which he said might be an error.

Dr. Bayo however stated that he might not know the purpose of the money paid to Sanna Jarju but that if shown the right date, probably he would be able to explain the purpose of the money. He acknowledged that Sanna Jarju once came with a cheque regarding their holiday trip in Dubai.

On the withdrawal of €150,000.00; $200,000.00 and €65,000.00, he explained that the first payment which was paid into the former president's account, was a request from him (the former president) but he did not know the purpose of the money; while the $200,000.00 was a payment made to Sanna Jarju for their trip to Dubai. Dr. Bayo is however expected to reappear today, to shed light on other payments.

Mr. Baboucarr Foon

Meanwhile, Mr. Babucarr Foon earlier gave evidence and produced a bunch of documents ranging from the list of board members, directors and work about board resolutions on loans and investments of the Corporation, which were admitted as exhibits.

Responding to Commissioners on the issue of the Board Chairman signing on the minutes of meetings, the witness said it is not a requirement for him as Secretary to the Board to go back and get the Chairman to sign after he returned to the jurisdiction. However, Commission Counsel George told him that the Chairman ought to have signed upon his return, hence the action or a transaction had been carried out.

According to Mr. Foon, during normal board meetings, SSHFC Management usually prepares a board paper and presents it to the board based on the subject matter. He finally testified that he will relay to the board as to whether people should continue contributing to SSHFC or should they do it in-house and keep their money away from risk.

Gambia

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