13 December 2017

Gambia: 'Former Government Deposited Monthly Subvention to JFT Hospital' GT Bank MD

Photo: Le Pays
Former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh

Mr. Ayodele Bolaji, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, yesterday revealed to the 'Janneh' Commission that the former government used to deposit money in one of the Jammeh Foundation for Peace Hospital accounts on a monthly basis, as subvention for the hospital.

But before Mr. Bolaji's testimony, Mariama Ndure-Njie, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Works, yesterday testified before the Commission in relation to the State aircrafts. Mrs. Njie, who is the only PS at the Department of Works, explained that she was appointed in January 2017; that they had an update from the Gambia Civil Aviation (GCA) regarding the fleet of aircrafts at the request of the ministry. According to her, there was a cabinet conclusion that they should sell the fleet and the date of their meeting was on the 19th September, 2017. At this juncture, she read out a report of the conclusion of the cabinet meeting. She noted that the ministry recommended that they should set up a taskforce to sell the aircrafts and the members of the taskforce were the Office of the President, Ministries of Finance and Justice, Gambia Civil Aviation Authority and Gambia International Airline (GIA); that the taskforce was set up for the disposal of the aircrafts, and it was set up on the 16th October 2017; that an evaluation was also done. Mrs. Njie further stated that they had a list of five aircrafts from GCA; that C5 RTG is currently due for heavy checks and there was a potential buyer; that they were furnished with the assessment of the aircraft but not their value; that they were not abandoning the evaluation but were waiting for the taskforce to make an assessment.

She then named the list of aircrafts that were assessed by the GCA and the Ministry as GAF Boeing 727 100, C5 GOG, Boeing B727 100, C5 AFT and Challenger CL 601. Air tractors, such as C5 DOA and C5 KSE were also included.

She however stated that she was not aware that the one in Germany was included in the sale.

According to her, the DG of GCA wrote an update regarding the status of the aircrafts on the 11th December 2017; that she did not know whether an advertisement was made for the disposal of the aircrafts. Documents relating to the disposal of the aircrafts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Further testifying, the witness said their Ministry did not have a copy of the agreement prepared by the Ministry of Justice in relation to the sale of the aircrafts; that the Director General of GCA in his update, outlined that Omega Company offered to buy the Jet Fighter and the air tractors to the tune of €100,000 while another Company by the name West Africa Service, changed from their initial offer from €100,000 to €240,000. She finally testified that the Ministry is now waiting for the DG of the Gambia Civil Aviation to come up with a valuation of the aircrafts.

In his testimony after Mrs Njie, Mr. Bolaji of the Guaranty Trust Bank said the Jammeh Foundation for Peace account was opened on the 5th February 2006, and the signatories were Kebba Manneh, Cherno Camara, Mr. Jassey, and Dr. Alieu Gaye among others; that the account is still operating and they got a court order to freeze it. He revealed that there were three- dalasi accounts and the first account was funded from monthly subventions deposited by government while the second savings account were payments from patients and the third one was a current account.

He testified that the bank received a letter informing them about the change of name of the hospital to Bundung Maternal Child Health Hospital. Documents relating to the JFP accounts were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Bolaji further stated that there were two other dalasi and a dollar account for JFP; that the first transaction on the dalasi account was on the 27th November, 2015, which was frozen; that the last transaction was 4th January 2016, leaving a balance of D1, 119.06 while the balance for the dollar account was $8,340; that the first transaction on this account was on the 30thOctober 2015, and the last transaction was on the 5th January 2016.

According to him, there was a total deposit of $200,000 which was converted to dalasi; that the balance in the dalasi account was converted to dollar on the 4th January 2016, and the sum of $40,000 was withdrawn by one Yamundow Njie; that on the 3rd January 2017, the sum of $200,000 was transferred to CBG's account in sequence and was converted to dalasi.

Bolaji disclosed that they got instruction to transfer D3, 000,000 to JFP account on a monthly basis. He is expected to provide the Commission with all the debit transactions on the dollar account. According to him, another dalasi account was opened on the 22nd of April, 2009 while another one was opened on the 11th July 2015; that a dollar account was also opened on the 24thJanuary 2015, and there was a total deposit of D28, 869,260.20 making a balance of D323, 274.78; that the last transaction was on the 15th March 2016. He said on the 8th of February 2017, the sum of D452, 950 was transferred to Trust Bank and $9,000 was deposited in the Dollar Account, now Bundung Maternal and Child Health Care and the signatories are the staff; that this account is still operational.

Account opening information, statements of accounts and some transactions for both JFP and PEGEP were admitted as exhibits.

Sitting continues today.

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