Kerr Fatou Online Media House
with focus on the Gambia and African News. Gambia Press Union 2021 TV Platform OF The Year

Gov’t bans ex-Jammeh aides from holding public office, rejects Commission’s recommendation to fire chief of protocol Ceesay

135

Gambian authorities have placed a ban on several former top government officials indicted by the Janneh Commission from holding public office.

Guided by the inquiry into the billions of dalasis theft of Gambian resources by former President Yahya Jammeh, the cabinet has made a decision that former secretary generals Momodou Sabally, Dr Njogou Bah and former governor of central bank Amadou Colley, among others, be banned from holding public office.    

The Government said it has accepted the recommendation of the Commission that Amadou Colley should not serve in any public office again or be appointed as director of any state owned enterprise for at least 10 years.

“Mr Amadou Colley is hereby banned from holding public office for the remainder of his life. He is also banned from holding any director positions in any state-owned enterprises in the Gambia for 20 years from the date of publication of this White Paper…,” said the Government. Similarly, Basiru Njie, the deputy governor, is given a similar punishment.

Both Dr Njogou Bah and Momodou Sabally, former secretary generals under former ruler Jammeh are banned from holding public office for the remainders of their lives.

Both Sabally and Bah are also banned from any appointment as director of any state-own enterprise for 10 years. Also banned from holding public office for life is Momodou L. Gibba, a one-time director of Social Security and Gambia Ports Authority, among others.

The cabinet also made a decision that the services of Abdoulie Cham, the finance director of Social Security be terminated. A former minister of Ministry of Lands and Regional Government, Momodou A. Bayo, is also banned from holding public office for 15 years.

“As the longest serving member of former President Jammeh’s Cabinet and given her position as vice president of the republic, Dr Isatou Saidy’s conduct fell far short of the standards expected of an occupier of the Office of the Vice President of the Republic. Consequently, Dr Isatou Njie Saidy is hereby banned from holding public office for five years from date of publication of this White Paper,” said Government on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Government has rejected the recommendation of the Commission to fire the chief of protocol Alhagie Ousman Ceesay. The Commission has held Ceesay liable for aiding and abetting the looting of state funds by Jammeh. The Commission in the details below recommended for the sacking of all protocol officers including Ceesay.

The Commission of Inquiry

 FINDING

 (1) The Office of the First Lady Bank GTB account was not opened until October

  1. 2016. We have  not  found  any  commercial  bank  records  prior  to  that  date. Transactions before that date were in cash through protocol office

 (2) From  the  records  so  far  found,  at  least  US1,626,786  was  transferred  from Gambia to, or on behalf of, the Ex-First Lady over a span of 2years –  2016 excluding monies transferred from OSC . Of this sum $183,710 was to IvyMount Outreach in respect of the child. The rest of the funds were either to herself or to maintain her lifestyle (airplane charters for her travels).

 (3) The Office of the First Lady under the Ex-President was used for the  private purposes of the Ex-First Lady and not for any services to  Government.  Bank accounts were opened in GTB in the name of her Office for her private purpose and in order to enable her transfer cash out of the country. The fact that the Chief of Protocol Alhagie Ousman Ceesay was made a  signatory further seemingly legitimized the Account.

 (4) This Commission has found that the Ex-President Jammeh personally withdrew, directly, cash from accounts opened by Office of the President or controlled by that Office after they were opened by the Accountant General. It is therefore not unreasonable to assume that cash deposited by the Ex-First Lady was from the Ex-President since no evidence of a private source of revenue for her has been established. These sums are recoverable from Ex-President  Jammeh and Ex- First  Lady  Zineb  Souma  Jammeh,  jointly  and  severally,  as  money  illegally appropriated from public sources including the Higher  Education Account and Office of the President. There is probable cause for holding that the said funds amounting to US1,626,786 were stolen.

 (5) From the evidence, the Protocol Officers involved in transferring cash for the Ex- First Lady are the following:

 a. Sanna Jarju

 b. Momodou Lamin Mendy c. Alhagie Ousman Ceesay

  1. d. Hon. Borrie L.S.B. Kolley to charter an aircraft. e. Buba I Demba

 84

The Commission of Inquiry

 Alhagie Ousman Ceesay was  joint signatory  to  the Office of  the First Lady Account. There is probable cause for holding that they aided and abetted the Ex- First Lady Zineb Souma in the illegal appropriation of public funds.

 Recommendations

 Way Forward

 (1) The Ex-President Jammeh, Ex- First Lady Zineb Souma Jammeh should be charged with theft of the sum of USD1,626,786.

 (2) She is liable for the D3,330,046.60, USD231,581.27, GBP6,618.41  improperly authorized from OSCF.

 (3) All the Protocol Officers should, at the minimum, be dismissed from office.

 (4) The role of the Protocol Officers at OP should be reviewed with a view to setting guidelines and limits as to their functions in relation to the private financial affairs of the first families.

However, the Government said they have rejected the findings of the Janneh Commission that President Adama Barrow’s chief of protocol Ceesay has aided and abetted the pilfering of public funds by Jammeh. Government’s claim, mainly, is that there was lack of clarity surrounding the functions of protocol officers at the Office of the President.

The much awaited Janneh Commission report was published on Friday with a Government plan of action otherwise call a White Paper.

The 1600-page report has indicted President Jammeh for theft of over a billion dalasi and over 304 million Dollars; over 29 million Euros, and over 2 million Pounds Sterling. Several individuals and companies were accused to have aided and abetted the loot.

The Inquiry identified 17 people as close associates of the former president. As part of the implementation of the recommendations of the report, the Government has placed a temporary restriction on the properties of 14 companies and individuals indicted by an inquiry into the financial transactions of country’s former president Yahya Jammeh.

“A lien shall be immediately placed on the properties of the following persons until further notice: Amadou Samba; Tarek Musa; Fadi Mazegi; Illija Reymond; Martin Keller; Nicolae Buziainu; Dragos Buziainu; Ali Youssef Sharara; Woreh Njie Ceesay; Tony Ghattas; Feryale Diab Ghanem; Trust Bank Ltd; Guaranty Trust Bank (Gambia) Ltd and M.A. Kharafi and Sons,” said Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou on Monday.

A lien is a form of security interest granted over an item of property to secure the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation. The Government released it plan of action with the report earlier today.

Comments are closed.