19 December 2017

Gambia: Ex-President's Accounts Exposed

Photo: Le Pays
Président Yahya Jammeh et son épouse.

Mr. Ebrima Sallah, Managing Director of Trust Bank Gambia Limited who was recalled in connection with accounts opened by the former president, yesterday revealed numerous accounts operated by former President Yahya Jammeh, including various Kanilai Family Farm accounts.

Dwelling on the accounts operated by former president Jammeh, Sallah disclosed them as "Operation Save a Baby" Account, "AU First Lady Conference" Account, "Higher Education Support" Account and "PAC PEC Taskforce" Account.

On "Operation Save a Baby" account, he said it was opened on the 6th June 2010, and the first transaction was done on the 19th June 2010, with a sum of D350, 000 and the former president was the sole signatory; that the last transaction on this account was done on the 23rdJanuary 2017, with a sum of D520,640.29 and it was used by the bank to settle a debt owed by the former president. He said he did not know why the account was opened and the balance in the account is zero. Sallah further explained that there was a payment made to the tune of D350, 000 to open the account, and there was no withdrawal.

On "AU First Lady's Conference" account, he said it was a current account in dalasi and it was opened in April 2006; that Mrs. Elizabeth Hardings, Teneng Ba Jaiteh and Fanta Ceesay, the current Director of Social Welfare, were the signatories to the account; that the last transaction was D3, 900 and the balance was D2, 045,620.87, while the total deposit was D2, 523, 935.

On the "Higher Education Support" Account, Sallah alluded that it was opened in 2013 and the signatories were Abdoulie Sallah and Njogu Bah; that the first transaction was a cheque payment of D10, 000 and the sum of D9, 575 was withdrawn and there was a balance of D425.

On the "PAC PEC" account, he said Mr. Kalilou Bayo and Nuha Touray were the signatories and the first transaction was done on the 7th August 2012, in the sum of D323, 750 while the last transaction was done on the 5th April 2017; that there was a balance of D96, 877.38.

He informed Commissioners of another account in the name of Hospitals for the Treatment of HIV/AIDS, which was a current account in dalasi and a savings account respectively, with the same signatories; that this was opened in September 2007, and the former president was the sole signatory to this account.

According to him, the first transaction was done on the 27th September, 2007, and the sum of D49, 000 was deposited into the account while the last transaction was done on the 23rd January, 2017; that however, there was a total deposit of D1, 676, 792.06 and there was a total debit of D200, 000 by the bank, for settlement of loan by the former president; that there was an additional cash payment of D20, 000 into the same account.

Mr. Sallah testified that there was another payment of D748, 000 on the dollar account; that the first transaction was done on the 21st September, 2007, with a deposit of $50,000 paid in by one Juma S .G. Janneh and the last transaction was $58,461.89; that on the 28thNovember, 2007, there was a cheque payment of $300,000 and on the 19th of December, 2007, there was another payment of $1,000,000 from the Republic of China on Taiwan.

At that juncture, Commission Counsel, Amie Bensouda, asked Mr. Sallah to make more efforts and provide the commission with the source of an initial cheque, deposited into the same account and the total respectively.

Continuing, the witness disclosed that in September, 2007, there was a dalasi Savings account and the first transaction was done on the 24th of September, 2007, with the sum of D185,000 and a debt of D519, 621.77 was debited by the bank. Responding to counsel, the witness disclosed that nothing like opening a hospital was shown in the account opening information. According to him, the sum of $43,000 was withdrawn from the account. At that point, account opening information, statements of account, transaction documents and other relevant documents relating to these accounts, were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

On the former President's "Treatment Program" Account, Sallah said the sole signatory to this account was the former president and it was opened in June, 2010, with a cheque payment of D200, 000 which was from the GAMTEL / GAMCEL Staff Association; that the last transaction was done on the 5th April, 2017, and this was a payment of D5000, while the balance was D8, 555.70

Another account operated at Trust Bank by the former president was the "APRC Travel" account and the signatories were Yahya Jammeh and Sanna Sabally; that the account was opened on the 11 of October, 1994; that there was no actual transaction in this account. He however said the account was frozen; that on the 1st of July, 2005, there was a balance of D344, 185.71.

On the "July 22nd" Account, he said the signatories were Alieu Ngum, Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay, Hassoum Ceesay and Abdoulie Sallah and this was opened in September 2008; that there was a cash deposit of D10,000 and the balance was D9, 910 but that this account never operated since it was opened. The banker further disclosed other numerous accounts operated by Kanilai Family Farms (KFF).

On "KFF's Abattoir Savings" Account, he said the signatories were Adama Jagne and the former president and it was opened in October 2011; that the first transaction was done on the 19th October 2011, with a deposit of D25, 670 while the last transaction was done on the 23rd January 2017, to the tune of D766, 981.66 which was debited to JFP.

On the "Kanilai Family Farm Garage" account, the former president was the sole signatory to this account which he said was opened in November 2009; that the first transaction was done on the 10th November 2009, to the tune of D2, 518, 953.75 and the last transaction was done on the 1st August 2010, with a transfer of D2, 600,000 to Central Bank of the Gambia, for the purpose of auto mechanical works at Kanilai Village, leaving a balance of D23, 529.24; that the account was not frozen.

On "Kanilai Family Farm Sugar Book" account, he said the sole signatory was the former president and that this was opened in August 2012; that the first transaction was done on the 14th August 2012 with a credit of D324,025 and the last transaction was done on the 23rd May 2014, with a cash payment of D60,000 leaving a balance of D264,519.20.

On "Kanilai Family Farms (Farms)" account, the signatories were the former president and Pa Ousman Bojang and was opened in September 2010; that the first transaction was done on the 1stof September 2010, in the sum of D50, 000.

Next to appear was the Managing Director of the Standard Chartered Bank, Olukorede Adenowo, who was summoned in connection with the acquisition of Agro Oil Company Plant by the then Government and the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel in which the bank was involved. Mr. Adenowo testified that he had a deal for the venture for Premier Agro Oil Company and the total value of the Company was D49,483,291.90 further stating that he had the title deed of the facility which was deposited at the bank and a copy of the judgement between Agro Oil Company, the bank and the second defendant.

On Kairaba Beach Hotel, the witness testified that he was in possession of the Sales agreement between Millennium Industrial and General Trading Company and MA Kharafi and Sons, dated 8th June 2004. Asked how the bank got involved in the sale of the hotel, he responded that the bank was supposed to provide a working capital for the refurbishment of the hotel and they were supposed to have $2,600,000 from the assumed price of $10,000,000; that the bank would not release the hotel's title deed if the debt was not paid and the facility was extended to the hotel as per the file. According to him, the Sales agreement explained how the $10,000,000 was to be settled; that they would furnish the Commission with the names of the shareholders of the Millennium Industrial Company.

Relevant documents relating to Agro Oil Company and sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel were admitted in evidence. Earlier the MD apologized for not appearing before the Commission as he was out of the jurisdiction.

Sitting continues today.

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