By Landing Ceesay
Alieu Jallow, Registrar of Companies at Attorney General and Ministry of Justice has testified as the third Prosecution Witness (PW3) in the Gam Petroleum Corruption Scandal Trial.
Mr. Jallow, appeared in court on 19th May 2022 in the trial involving two senior staff of Gam Petroleum Storage Facility Depot in Lamin Mandinary.
The 2 staff namely Saihou Drammeh (1st accused), former Managing Director and Lamin Gassama (2nd accused), former Operations Manager of the institution are charged with 8 counts (3 counts of economic crimes and 5 other counts) in the alleged corruption scandal.
The eight counts are levelled against the accused in their maiden court appearance at the High Court in Banjul on 4th April 2022 presided over by Justice Haddy Roche.
Their appearance in court followed their arrest regarding their alleged involvement in the alleged corruption, malpractices and the missing of USD 20 million at the depot.
A. Jarju is representing the State, while lawyers Christopher E. Mene, B. S. Conteh, S. Akimbo, Bakurin Pauline, and Sasum Sillah are representing the 1st accused and 2nd accused persons in the hearing.
Explaining to the Court how companies including Gam Petroleum are registered by his office, Mr. Jallow said a registrar is responsible for the registration of all types of businesses in The Gambia, including companies- sole proprietorship/ individual business, partnerships and related entities, foundations, organizations, and even local organizations and associations.
Mr. Jallow added that in the process of registration, the provisions of the company Act 2013 and the business registration Act 2013 and other relevant legal instruments guide the registrar.
He continued that there should be a checklist and that list is a requirement in the registration of companies.
“In this regard, the registrar provides the list and memorandum which will identify the shareholders and the share stock. If the article is duly executed, an applicant is required to obtain an identification certificate called TIN from the GRA.
“There after present the registrar with copies of either a passport of the shareholders or their National identity cards. If the registrar is satisfied with those items and the prescribed fee is paid to the Ministry and then proceed to register accordingly,” PW3 told the Court.
The witness said the registration would require an issuance of registration certificate, and in the case of the company, there are mainly two certificates and those are certification of business register and certificate of incorporation.
When the state counsel asked about what else the article and memo contain, the witness said the article contains other things like address of the shareholders and general provisions as to the formation of what the company really contains.
“In a nutshell, the article and memo could be said to be the Constitution guiding the company,” the witness told the court.
“After a company is registered, what are they required to do?” the state counsel asked.
PW3 said the activities of registered companies are indicated in the article and the memo, and summarized in the certificate of business registration.
“In addition to the functions listed, the registrar is also mandated to show compliance and that would of course mean that companies are registered and mandated according to the terms in which they are registered and mandated. So the law requires them to file annual returns at the expiry of 12 months from the date of registration,” the witness concluded his testimony.
The case proceeded to cross-examination, which would feature in our subsequent publication.