7 March 2018

Gambia: 'Saul Badjie Was More Powerful Than Former VP' Momodou Sabally

The former Secretary General in the regime of Yaya Jammeh Mr. Momodou Sabally, yesterday told the 'Janneh' Commission that the former Commander of the Republican Guards Battalion, General Saul Badjie, was more powerful than the former Vice President, Dr. Isatou Njie Saidy.

During the course of his testimony on the Gamtel Gateway contracts, Sabally adduced that he would not say Saul Badjie was a co-president but believed that he was more powerful than the former vice president. He added that Saul Badjie was calling Ministers and giving them instructions.

"There were consequences for not abiding by Saul Badjie's instruction," he told the Commission.

Sabally was reappearing to shed light on the contract between MGI Telecom Company and the former Government, for the management of the Gamtel International Gateway which he signed in his capacity as the then Secretary General.

Testifying before the Commission on the contract, he said he was called at Kanilai where he met the former president, the former managing director of Gamtel Baboucarr Sanyang, Bala Jassey, a gentleman from Switzerland and General Saul Badjie, for MGI to take over the Management of the Gateway.

According to him, an agreement was reached for MGI to take over the Gateway which included the technical aspect of the contract and that proceeds were sent into the Government account and MGI also had shares.

He however said he could not remember whether there were specific fees that MGI was supposed to receive, further stating that the former president decided to terminate the contract of TELL, which reason he said, he was not privy to.

Further testifying, Sabally claimed that he believed General Saul Badjie had an influence on the said contract, noting that Gamtel contracted the Gateway Management to MGI.

He further told the Commission that they signed an agreement and MGI took over the management of the Gateway, further stating that after one month, he did not see the said gentleman from Switzerland.

According to him, he called the then Gamtel MD at the time and told him that revenues were not being paid and further forwarded his concern to former president Jammeh, who promised him that he would take care of the issue.

Sabally stated that the former president downplayed his constraint and he later travelled and was fired as SG a few months later, when he came back.

He recalled that he signed the agreement but could not remember the terms and conditions of the contract neither could he recall the date he signed the contract; that he did not seek legal advice and could not remember who was present at the time of signing the contract, noting that it was possible that the contract he signed was missing.

Mr. Sabally went on to say that it was the responsibility of Gamtel to protect the interest of the Government; that he was aware that an account was opened by the office of the former president.

Further testifying, he told the Commission that he did not know whether the former president requested for an incentive for terminating the contract with TELL.

Commissioner Saine at this juncture, asked him what was the interest of the former president in the Gateway? Sabally responded that he believed the former president benefitted from the contract; that he believed his dismissal partly had to do with the contract, noting that any time the Gateway was changing hand, he would not be involved.

Earlier, the Managing Director of FIB Modou Mousa, reappeared in connection with KGI and KFF files.

He told the Commission that they had the original copies of the accounts of these Companies.

He was however reminded by Counsel that they had submitted four accounts and that on the JB KGI account, the signatories were Alieu B Ceesay and Sajar Camara, noting that the account was opened on 7th November 2012.

At this juncture, transaction documents and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Dwelling on the KGI joint venture account, he said the signatories were the same while on the KGI Bakery account, he said this was opened on 14th June 2014, with a balance of D92,040.14; that the signatories were Goreh Njie, David Omar Bass and Binta Sanneh.

Further testifying on the KGI Japanese rice account, he said it was opened on 13th May 2014, and the signatories were the same; that it had a balance of D2, 497,830.25.

On the KGI Gambia Muslim Butchers account, he stated that it was opened on 6th May 2016, and the signatories were the same; that the account had a balance of D658, 148.23 and there were no transactions on the account, but that service fees were charged.

Mr. Mousa said the KGI Boutique account was opened on 30th May 2014, with the same signatories, noting that there was a balance of D56,923.48.

On the KGI Cement account, he told Commissioners that it was opened on 19th March 2015, with the balance of D33,308.65 with the same signatories.

On the Sindola Safari Lodge account, he testified that it was opened on 2nd February 2010, and that Amadou Samba served as a signatory to the account on 10th September 2012, and the balance was D210, 876.03.

Further testifying, Mr. Mousa disclosed that the Mooten Kafoo account was opened on 26th July 2008, while the signatories were the former president and Ebou Jammeh, with a total balance of D13, 185.34.

At this juncture, the said accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Dominic Gomez, the Managing Director of Zenith Bank, also faced the Commission in connection with the accounts submitted.

Dwelling on some accounts, he mentioned that the KGI Japanese Rice account was opened on 18th January 2011, and Ousman Bojang was the sole signatory, noting that there was a balance of D834.87 at the time it was closed while on another KGI Japanese Rice account, he stated that it was opened on 22nd May 2014, and the signatories were Wory Njie-Ceesay, Saja Camara and David Omar Bass with a balance of D160,016.62.

Documents relating to the accounts were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Hearing continues today.

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