Following up on his previous testimony at the Janneh Commission, Gambian business tycoon Amadou Samba on Monday, 13 November 2017 said that he had been a self-made man before the 22 July 1994 coup that brought Yahya Jammeh to power. According to him, he had invested in multiple business ventures ranging from fisheries, commodity brokerage to cement distribution. “Jammeh never made me a millionaire,” he said. “I had long been a millionaire before Jammeh came to power.”
He insisted consistently that he had a complicated relationship with Yahya Jammeh that most people are not aware of. “When I said that I managed Jammeh, a lot of people took it out of context. What I meant was that I was extremely careful in my interactions with Yahya Jammeh so as not to incur his wrath and land myself in Mile 2. My life was constantly in danger. My business empire was at risk. I did not want to jeopardize my business empire that I had built with my own sweat. That was why I was always on my guard in dealing with Yahya Jammeh.”
He produced two sets of documents to prove that he had no dealing at all with the purchase of the Kairaba Beach Hotel by Yahya Jammeh. All the documents were admitted as exhibits. As a matter of fact, the documents showed that it is Mr Sonko who was a business partner of Yahya Jammeh. He also tendered a Trust Bank cheque of three million dalasis that he issued to one Mr Blain to help buy CFA for the ex-president. He said he received a cheque of three million from Kanilai Farm in his Trust Bank account and that he, in turn, issued a personal cheque of D3million to Mr Blain to buy CFA for the former president.
He stated categorically that his relationship with Yahya Jammeh was mostly social and that it was mostly conducted over the telephone when they discussed international affairs. He insisted that he never transferred money to Yahya Jammeh and neither did Yahya Jammeh transfer money to him. ” I never had any business relationship with Yahya Jammeh and neither did I work for him. I supported his party but not him. I am not a signatory to any of his business accounts. I never discussed business or politics with him. Our relationship was mostly social.”
He admitted that he was used by Yahya Jammeh, adding that what Jammeh did to him, for example, trying to kill his cement business was not an act of a friend. He insisted that he suffered more at the hands of Jammeh than the public knows about. For him, the public perception was that he was a close associate of Yahya Jammeh, which is not true. He said that he was a mere local partner to the foreign contractor who won the bid to build the Banjul International airport.
“I never attended any meeting at the Office of the President over the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel. When Jammeh fell out with Baba Jobe, he wanted me to take over from Baba Jobe but I told him to count me out. Since that time, Yahya Jammeh never got me involved in his businesses. My chairmanship of the Kairaba Beach Hotel was merely symbolic. There were no meetings, no agendas, etc. I was just a symbolic chairman.” He admitted however that the former president would sometime ask him to source foreign currency like the CFA case when he issued the D3m.
The hearing continues tomorrow.
Below are some of the documents Mr Samba tendered before the Commission. Please read on….
Written By A Rooving Correspondent