The former Managing Director of the Gambia Ports Authority Momodou Lamin Gibba, on Wednesday, explained to the Financial Commission, how Yahya Jammeh, was working with ports officials run a CFA Forex at the State House at the expense of the Gambian state. Jammeh, he said, had asked him to supply him CFA currency, which he (Jammeh) will in turn sell to banks and local Forex bureaus in the country. Gibba said an amount of 83 million CFA, which is equivalent to D6.9 million dalasis was given to Jammeh from the coffers of the ports. The CFA Franc funds were “ loaned” to Jammeh, which he never paid back.
The money represents CFA Franc currency GFA normally collects from the ferry crossing points across the country. He said there was a bilateral agreement reached between the Gambia and Senegal for the GPA to charge Senegalese motorists CFA franc, Euro, dollar or other foreign denominations if they use our ferries to travel.
According to Gibba, he and his Deputy Ousman Jobarteh ensured that all the CFA franc currencies supplied to Jammeh, were documented for posterity purposes. He said Jobarteh had personally supplied the funds to Jammeh through his close aides: former army Major Yusupha Sanneh, and General Saul Badjie. Yusupha Sanneh later parted company with Jammeh and resettled in the US. He was Jammeh’s orderly.
“Since the transaction was confidential, I authorized Mr. Jobarteh to carry the CFA to the State House. The CFA funds were handed to Jammeh through Major Yusupha Sanneh and General Saul Badjie. Major Sanneh and General Badjie served as middlemen. They were intermediaries between Jammeh and Jobarteh. Initially, it was Major Sanneh, who used to receive the money and signed the documents, but he later left the service and traveled to America,” Gibba said.
Mr. Gibba said he and his management decided to keep a paper trail of the CFA franc that were supplied to Jammeh, so that in the event he fails to pay, he can remind the former dictator about his unpaid debt to the GPA. He said in some occasions Jammeh will pay, but he is equally found behind on his payments to the ports.
“When he calls me, I will remind him that the money that has been handed to you, is not yet paid. I can only talk to him if he calls me because I don’t have his private line,” Gibba tells the Commission.
The three documents bearing the signature of Ousman Jobareh in respect of the CFA Francs supplied to Jammeh were marked as exhibits. The documents were addressed to the Secretary General, even though the SG was involved in the transactions. Sanneh and Gen. Badjie signed the documents. Gibba couldn’t recall the SG, who was in office at the time.
Mr. Gibba also said the GPA financed the construction of the Kanilai International cultural center. This followed, an instruction given to him by Jammeh that the GPA should foot the bill for the construction of the center. He said he was informed by Jammeh that the rains disrupted the past cultural celebration because there was no proper structure available to house the international guests.
Mr. Gibba said as the MD of the GPA, he couldn’t override Jammeh’s directives. He said he fears the president and as such he couldn’t challenge his authority.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai
Email: [email protected]