Accountant General, Bank MDs Reappear at ‘Janneh’ Commission

By Mamadou Dem 

The Government’s Accountant General, Momodou Lamin Bah, Trust Bank Managing Director and the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Ayodeyel Bolaji, yesterday reappeared at the ‘Janneh’ Commission to explain financial matters surrounding the former regime, Office of the former president and Gamveg respectively. Mr. Bah testified that the Directorate of the National Treasury did not make any direct payments; that however there were impresses paid and the sum of D3, 000,000 was paid to Dr. Njogu L Bah on the 9th of June 2010.

According to the witness, the said sum paid to the former Secretary General was approved by the Ministry of Finance but the request emanated from the office of the former president; that the impress paid to Bah has not been retired because once it’s retired, it will be captured and the name of the retiree will be cleared from the system. Mr. Bah further testified that there was another payment of impress approved by the Ministry of Finance amounting to D7, 920,000 in the name of Njemmeh Wadda; that upon payment of the said sums, she presented deposits slip as retirement and attached a letter stating that she has deposited the money into the mobilisation account and would not take responsibility on how the money was spent.

On the 13th July 2010, there was a letter from the Secretary General requesting for the said sum out of which, the sum of D3, 000,000 was refunded to businessman Amadou Samba and others.

On the mobilisation account, the witness informed the Commission that over D5.7 million was paid on the basis that there was a letter from the Ministry of Finance in relation to the inauguration of the former president and there was payment of impress to Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, amounting to D8, 139, 222   for the visit of Taiwanese President; that Mrs. Njie deposited this amount and retired the said sum.

Mr. Bah was however urged to look into their accounting system and report back on monies paid as impress but their retirements are still pending. He further told Commissioners that on 6th November 2013, the sum of D3, 084,000 was transferred to the mobilisation account for the visit of the Nigerian president and on 20th July 2016, the sum of D22, 200,000 was transferred from the national security account to the mobilisation account. Mr. Bah however said he would not know what happened to the monies that were transferred from the department of treasury to the mobilisation account because he was not a signatory to the account neither any of his staff.

Correspondence and letters relating to the payment of impress to various individuals including Dr. Njogu Bah, were admitted as exhibits.

Ebrima Sallah, Managing Director, Trust Bank Gambia Limited reappeared before the Commission in connection with the National Security Project Account. He said this account bears both dollar and dalasi and the signatories were the former president and the former Secretary General.

According to him, the said account was opened on the 19th April 2012, and the last transaction was on the 5th of April 2017; that the sum of D10,000,000 was deposited into the dalasi account while the dollar account which was opened on the 17th of May 2012, had the sum of $2,100,000 deposited in it from the Republic of China on Taiwan. He said the balance now is $31,764.14.

Responding to Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda on whether the account was frozen, he responded in the negative; that the last transaction on this account was on the 20th of September 2012; that there was a withdrawal on the 7th of June 2012, in the sum of $357, 143.00 upon request from the office of the former president and there was another withdrawal on the 4th of September 2012, amounting to $44,900.80 for the purchase of a generator; that there was another withdrawal on the  20th of April 2012, of D3,500,000 from the dalasi account.

Further buttressing on the dollar account, Mr. Sallah disclosed that the sum of $2, 921,317 was deposited into the account with an additional credit of $2,000,000; that however, the sum of D24, 159,166 was paid to Cadet Momodou Sowe, but the request was signed by former Secretary General, Dr. Njogu Bah.

Mr. Ayodele Bolaji, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank also reappeared and produced transaction documents such as copies of cheques, deposit slips in dollar and dalasi denominations for Gamveg accounts which were admitted as exhibits. On board resolutions for the $2,000,000 loan to Kanilai International Group (KGI), Mr. Bolaji testified that it was the board credit chairman that signed because the said facility did not go through the full board members meeting. Transaction documents including letter of confirmation from SSHFC for fix deposits, were all admitted as exhibits.

Sitting continues on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Commission will embark on a site visit to Banjul International Airport, to observe the situation of the aircrafts and related issues.