By Mamadou Dem
Dr. Njogu .L. Bah, erstwhile Secretary General, Head of the Civil Services and Presidential Affairs Minister yesterday 9th December, 2014 in his defence narrated his side of the story, ranging from his educational career, how he came back to his country, and subsequent appointments in various prominent positions amongst others.
Mr. Bah made these revelations at the lower court in Banjul presided over by Principal Magistrate Dawda Jallow.
During his defence, Mr. Bah told the court that he was a resident of Busumbala, West Coast Region but currently serving in State Central Prison, Mile II.
According to him, prior to his arrest, he briefly served as Minister of Petroleum but prior to that, he was the Secretary General, Head of the Civil Services and also Minister of Presidential Affairs.
“Can you tell the court what type of doctorate you have?” his attorney quizzed.
“PhD in Public Administration from Rochvile University in United States,” he responded. He added that prior to his PhD degree, he had a BA in linguistic at Sheikh Ahmed Munazaba in Morocco; adding that he obtained his second degree from the same university. “I acquire my PhD in 2004,” he discloses.
According to Mr. Bah, prior to his return to the Gambia he worked in the United States as a manager in Food Chain called ‘Red Lobster’; adding that he used to work at the same place on part time bases while studying. He said “I came to The Gambia in May 2005.”
Further narrating his ordeal, the former civil service boss said “sometime in 2004, his Excellency, the President visited United States by then I was the Chairman of the Atlanta APRC Chapter. There was a meeting held in Washington by the president with the Gambian Community.
“After my speech at the meeting, I greeted the President so he asked me what my plans where, whether I would stay in the United States or whether I want to come and joined nation building, I responded that I would return to my country because what I have is my country and if all of us were opportune to go abroad and study and decide to stay in that country, then who will develop our country for us,” he asked?
“That went well with him (President Jammeh) I was told that when they return from that trip I will receive a communication from his office. After three months of their departure, I received a letter from one Marcel Thormacy, he was then the Director of Press and Public Relations reminding me to the conversation I alluded on earlier,” Mr. Bah continued.
According to him, he stayed for couple of months preparing his return to the Gambia; adding that he was living with his family while in the states.
After my preparation and putting everything together, I came back home to join his Excellency in nation building. When I came, I went to the Personal Management Office (P.M.O) and was received by then Permanent Secretary, Yusupha Dibba, interview was organized by Public Service Commission (P.S.C). After the interview, some couple of days, I received my appointment letter. I was posted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as assistant secretary. I work there for three months, and was moved to the office of the President with the same position as senior assistant Secretary. From there, through hard work, dedication and sacrifice, I was being recognised and promoted to principal assistant secretary thereafter, as Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS), then as Permanent Secretary (PS2) then as PS1, then secretary to cabinet and to the Position of Secretary General Head of the Civil Service.”
“I have been secretary General on four occasions starting from 2010, at some moment I would be redeployed to a ministry. I remember serving as Minister of Trade, then I served as Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure. I also served as Minister of Information, Communication and Infrastructure, then as Minister of Presidential Affairs, then briefly as Minister of Petroleum,” he testified.
According to Mr. Bah, due to the trust and confidence bestowed on him by the President that’s why he was given various prominent positions.
“Have you ever abused your office?” asked lawyer Mboge.
Mr. Bah replied in the negative and said “Actually my office abused me. I spent all my time at work, I never have social life, I never get time to see my children, I have no time with my family. I don’t have Saturday or Sunday.”
“His Excellency has great heart for this country and we needed to support him even if I will be deprived worthy time with my family, friends and relatives,” said the accused.
When told by his counsel that he is alleged of interfering with the appointment of Ms. Jainaba Jobarteh to Gambia’s Mission in New York, he said “when I was confronted with that allegation at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), I denied it then and I deny it now again.”
Counsel further asked him why he stated in his voluntary statement that he is 100% not guilty to the allegation preferred against him. He responded that he was certain that the allegation against him was not true.
Mr. Bah is expected to dwell on the process or processes involved in appointing Ms Jainaba Jobarteh when the case resumed on the 17th of this Month at 1pm.
By Mamadou Dem