While his supporters are vehemently denying that Mama Kandeh, had allegedly received two Mercedes Benz cars from businessman Hamidou Jah, who bought dictator Jammeh’s confiscated assets, the mechanic, who was assigned by Mr. Kandeh to help repair the old cars for him (Kandeh), has spoken to Freedom Radio Gambia’s prime time Leral show, Freedom Newspaper can report. Sheikh Ann, who identified himself as a former mechanic for the exiled Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh, said, he has been working at the government Kotu mechanic shop for eighteen years. He was removed from his job, following the change of government back in December of 2016, which brought President Barrow to power.
Explaining his encounter with the GDC leader Mama Kandeh, Ann said, he first met Kandeh at his brother’s hotel, Baobab, where Kandeh was introduced to him. He said Kandeh later asked him to help repair two cars for him.
“I met Mama Kandeh at his brother’s hotel, Baobab. He gave me a job to repair two Mercedes Benz cars for him. One of the cars was kept at the factory of Hamidou Jah. I was with Mama’s driver, when we went to Farato to pick up the Benz from that Jah factory. The Benz was taken to my garage in Wellingara. The second Benz was parked at the Baobab hotel. I moved it from the hotel to my garage. The cars were in my garage for couple of months. When I checked the cars, I found that they had some mechanical issues. Mama Kandeh later sent his son to pick up the cars from the garage. Both cars were bulletproof cars. They were moved to a garage not far from my garage in Wellingara,” Sheikh Ann explained in the local Wollof dialect.
“I heard that the cars were given to Mama Kandeh by Hamidou Jah of Jah oil. They said the vehicles were among Jammeh’s auctioned cars. I do not know whether this is true or false. One of the cars was parked at Hamidou Jah’s factory, located somewhere in Farato. That is all I know about the vehicles. Mama Kandeh had visited me on numerous occasions at my garage, when he asked me to help repair the cars for him. We also spoke on the phone. When his son came to pick up the cars, Mama said he was going to get back to me. I had earlier asked him, if he could give us some money—given the fact that I had worked on the cars, and they were kept at my garage for months without any damage reported on the cars. He never gave me a butut. He only told me that he was going to get back to me, which he never did,” he added.
Reacting to Mr. Ann’s revelations, Dodou Ndow, the GDC, diaspora spokesman, was quick to unequivocally state that his party leader Mama Kandeh, doesn’t own the two cars.
“These were not Mama Kandeh’s cars. These are Hamidou Jah’s cars. He bought them well before the Janneh Commission had started auctioning Jammeh’s confiscated cars. It was Hamidou, who asked Mama to help him with a mechanic to repair the two cars. Mama did not own the two cars,” Ndow stated.
According to Ndow, Kandeh was the first politician to criticize the method that was applied to sell Jammeh’s assets. He notes that given Kandeh’s status in the country, he wouldn’t engage in any act that would cause a dent or disrepute on his political career.
“Mama is on record for having criticized the sale of the Jammeh assets. He said due process wasn’t followed. Mama wouldn’t criticize the sale of Jammeh’s assets and turn around to accept assets coming from that sale. That’s ridiculous. I think there are people, who are out to disparage Mama’s reputation. I wouldn’t be surprised if they would concord stories to suggest that Mama Kandeh had given birth to a baby now towards the elections. Mama is their biggest headache,” Ndow added.
Also, to speak in defense of Mama Kandeh, was MC Cham jrn, the GDC National Youth President. Like Ndow, Cham, also maintained that the cars in question doesn’t belong to Mama Kandeh.
“The Mechanic has stated clearly that he is not sure whether the cars belong to Mama Kandeh. These are not Mama’s cars. It is wrong for anyone to suggest that Mama Kandeh had bought or received car gifts from Hamidou Jah. We will not sit by and allow anyone to disparage our leader, like they did in 2016. We will sue anyone, who is making false allegations against our leader. Our legal team is here to handle issues of this nature,” Cham remarked.
Freedom Radio Gambia had made several phone calls on Mama Kandeh’s listed phone numbers, but he was unreachable for comments. His phone lines were switched off. One of his phone numbers, which happens to be a Spanish line, was also off.
GDC supporters said their party leader had traveled to Jimara, over the weekend.