A Gambian woman who was forced to sell her multi-million dalasis Bijilo home to the exiled Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh for D10 million dalasis giveaway price, only for her property to be seized by the Janneh Commission, says she wasn’t availed with the opportunity to be heard by the Janneh Commission. Mrs. Ndey Musa Jallow, was speaking in an interview with Freedom radio Gambia on Thursday. She added that despite being asked by the commission to submit written statements regarding her sold Bijilo home, the Commission under the leadership of Surahata Janneh, with lawyer Amie Bensouda serving as Lead Counsel, has failed to invite her to give evidence.
According to Mrs. Jallow, in her written statements, she told the commission that she was placed under duress to sell her home to dictator Yahya Jammeh. She also said prior to selling the property to Jammeh, she rented the property to Jammeh.
To her chagrin, she said one Alieu Jallow, an official of the Justice Ministry, was instead invited to the Janneh commission to testify about her sold property.
She recalled Alieu Jallow inviting her at his office in Banjul, following the change of government, where she had a conversation with Jallow about her property that she claimed was sold to Jammeh through forceful means.
She said Alieu Jallow in his testimony told the commission that Mrs. Jallow’s property was a luxurious home, a huge property for that matter.
She added that the Janneh commission had excluded her statement in which she told them that she was forced to sell her property to Jammeh, through businessman Amadou Samba.
The commission had ruled that the property was initally rented to Jammeh and later sold to him, without any duress as claimed by Mrs. Jallow, she said.
According to Mrs. Jallow, when Amadou Samba visited her home prior to the sale, Samba told her that one of the buildings would worth D10 million dalasis. She felt that she was forced to sell her property that worth D25 million dalasis for D10 million dalasis.
She said she was first contacted by one Ousainou Taal, a business associate of Amadou Samba, who told him that the former President Yahya Jammeh was interested in buying her property. At the time of Taal’s call, she had rented the property to a European man. Her tenant was forced to leave the property, as Jammeh’s ex-second wife Alima Sallah was housed into her Bijilo home.
She first rented the property to one Lebanese man Manhal of the Gam Veg company. Gam Veg was owned by Muhammed Bazzi, a former close associate of dictator Yahya Jammeh.
Mrs. Jallow has been trying to recover her property without success. She said the property has been allocated to the Financial Intelligence Unit, an agency of The Gambian government.
The person who was protecting the home for her, has been asked to leave the property, as construction work has begun at the property. There is a swimming pool at the property.
She said her former home has been vandalized, with doors and household items taken away from the property. The loot happened during Jammeh and Barrow’s rule.
Jammeh used his Kanilai Family Farm company to buy the property from Mrs. Jallow. Pa Bojang, a relative of Jammeh, was the one paying rent to her, she said.
Mrs. Jallow said she took a bank loan to build her former Bijilo home. She had provided the paperwork to the Janneh commission, but notwithstanding, the commission wouldn’t avail her the opportunity to state her own side of the story.
Mrs. Jallow is of the view that she wasn’t treated fairly by the Janneh commission. She said the commission never bothered to invite her, even though she was asked to submit her statement.
She said her younger brother Momodou Jallow, who lives in the United States was arrested during a visit to The Gambia. Her brother was arrested together with his Ghanaian friend. They were accused of being spies. They were accused of taking pictures of the property Jammeh from her. They were tortured, she said.
Mrs Jallow bad to intervene to secure her brother’s release from the NIA. Her brother even had to write to the Janneh commission to inform them that about his ordeal.
Mrs. Jallow is calling on The Gambian government to return her property to her. She said she wouldn’t mind paying the D10 million dalasis that Jammeh had spent to purchase her property.