Hours after President Adama Barrow has accused the leadership of the opposition United Democratic Party of selling out to some businessmen, by promising them Ministerial positions if they should win the Presidency, businessman Pa Njie Girigara, has added his weight to the President’s claims. Girigara told the Freedom Newspaper that he himself was offered a Ministerial post by Ousainou Darboe back in 2011. Darboe, he said, had asked him (Girigara) to provide a one million dalasis election campaign fund for his party, the UDP, with the promise of hiring him an Information Minister if he wins that election. Girigara said he agreed and provided the one million dalasis funds to the UDP leader. However, according to Girigara, he wasn’t interested in becoming an Information Minister in a UDP government. He added that despite his unwillingness to accept Darboe’s quid pro quo offer, he was told by Darboe to find a person of his choice to man that important portfolio.
According to Mr. Girigara, Darboe did not stop at selling a Ministerial position to him, he even made a written undertaking in the presence of the former UDP Administrative Secretary Ebou Manneh, “by promising that he would appoint Pa Njie Girigara or a person of Girigara’s choice to head the Information Ministry if he (Darboe) is elected to office as Gambia’s President.”
Girigara said he has a copy of Darboe’s promissory note of hiring him Information Minister. He has vowed to expose Darboe’s promissory note undertaken if Darboe should deny the story.
“I have Darboe’s own undertaken note, promising to hire me, or a person of my choice as Information Minister. Ebou Manneh was present when Darboe signed that document. President Barrow is right, Darboe has been selling positions in exchange for money. I gave him D1million dalasis for a Ministerial post. I have a copy of Darboe’s own promissory note to hire me Information Minister,” Girigara told me in a phone conversation on Monday.
According to Mr. Girigara, the one million dalasis fund that he provided to the UDP was made in three different disbursements.
“I was instructed by Ousainou Darboe to channel the first disbursement of D250,000 dalasis through Ebou Manneh, the then Administrative Secretary of the party. Darboe later asked me to make the second disbursement through Amadou Sanneh, the Treasurer of the UDP. On the third disbursement, Darboe personally asked me to channel the half a million dalasis D500,000 dalasis to him. I handed the remaining half a million dalasis to Darboe himself,” Mr. Girigara said.
Darboe did not win the 2011 Presidential election. He was defeated by the erstwhile dictator Yahya Jammeh.
Mr. Girigara never succeeded to secure that Ministerial post that Darboe allegedly sold him. He said Diplomat Ebou Manneh was his witness when Darboe sold the Ministerial position to him. Mr. Manneh had served as Gambia’s Ambassador to Sierra Leone, following the death of the late Femi Peters.
Girigara’s disturbing revelations followed President Barrow’s recent pronouncement accusing the leadership of the UDP of criminal activities. The President has accused the leadership of that political party of selling ministerial positions in exchange for favors from businessmen. He also accused the leadership of the party of awarding a gas importation contract to a Lebanese businessman Muhammed Bazzi in exchange for kickback. Bazzi has been indicted by the US Treasury Department for financing terrorism and drug trafficking related crimes.