Monday, April 12, 2021

AT THE ‘JANNEH’ COMMISSION: ‘Former President Involved In Discussion For Supply Of Generators to NAWEC’ Julia Joiner

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By Mamadou Dem

Julia Joiner, former Secretary General at the Office of former president Yaya Jammeh, yesterday July 17th revealed to the ‘Janneh’ Commission, that the former president was part of the discussions involving the Global Trading Group, for the supply of generators to NAWEC.

Joiner reappeared for cross-examination by Counsel Mary Samba, who asked her the reason why she retired. Samba is attorney for businessman Amadou Samba.

Prior to her questioning, she was given a file from the office of the former president when she was the secretary general, to go through. She told the Commission that NAWEC was under the office of the former president.

At this juncture, she was referred to a document, and said Saihou Mboge was the permanent secretary at the time; that the said document was about a directive from the office of the former president for Euro Africa Group to supply generators to NAWEC.

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She was given another letter which she read and stated that it indicated an agreement between Global Trading Group and NAWEC, for the supply of generators, further noting that the former president was involved in the discussion for the supply of generators to NAWEC, by Global Trading Group.

Joiner adduced that she had never met Amadou Samba, Muhammed Bazzi and others, to discuss the supply of generators to NAWEC by Global Trading Group; that the directives were coming from the office of the former president and not from her.

On the 18 megawatt generators, she posited that the officials who were at the meeting, are in a better position to explain what had transpired; that she was not sure about the $5,000,000 for the purchase of generators by NAWEC from Global Trading Group. “I tried to level stability within the system,” she told Commissioners.

At this juncture, documents relating to the supply of generators by Global Trading Group to NAWEC and other relevant documents, were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Still answering questions under cross-examination, Joiner testified that she served as secretary general at the office of the former president since 1996; that the protocol officer at the office of the former president at the time, would be able to say who frequented the office of the former president.

She disclosed that there was a list of those who were going to visit the former president, further saying that if there was an investigation into the investment on Kairaba Beach Hotel and the “Daily Observer” Newspaper, she was not expected to remember all the details about it.

Joiner told Commissioners that the property at Kanilai is owned by the former president; that they had meetings and visitors used to meet the former president there; that cabinet meetings used to be held there as well. She testified that she would not remember whether constructions started at Kanilai.

At this juncture, Commissioner Saine asked whether the former president had discussed with her, his dealings with Euro Africa Group. In response, she stated that she was not involved in any matter relating to Muhammed Bazzi and his group; that she voluntarily retired on the 26th of November 2002, because she was redeployed and Alieu Ngum was reinstated as the secretary general.

Next to testify under cross-examination by Counsel Mary Samba was Ousman Jammeh, former Secretary General. Counsel Samba asked the Commission to give the witness an exhibit which was a leased document, for him to go through.

Jammeh confirmed the said document as well as his signature on it, as the then Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands and confirmed that the document was approved in 2001; that Amadou Samba also signed the said document.

He confirmed the title deed of a land at the traffic light and told Commissioners that he held the position of secretary general twice, and was later redeployed.

When another exhibit dated 3rd August 2011 was shown to him, he confirmed that he wrote the said document which was for a loan and endorsed it, but not Amadou Samba.

Counsel Mary Samba then put it to him that it was not proper to sign on a plain sheet of paper, which was a letter he wrote to an institution. “As far as I am concerned, there was a directive from the office of the former president to write the said letter,” he testified.

At this juncture, he was referred to an invoice which was directed to Kanilai Family Farms, which he confirmed. On the purchase of tanks, he said he did not make a follow-up, adding that he was dismissed after he received directives from the former president.

Commissioner Saine then asked him whether he had ever queried the way and manner the former president was handling the National Assembly and he responded in the negative. “You have worked for the former president long enough to know better,” Counsel Mary Samba challenged him. In response, Jammeh told Commissioners that he was working for the country and not for the former president.

It was again put to him by Mary Samba that it was his responsibility as the secretary general, to make sure that the loans incurred by NAWEC were paid.

Still answering a question asked by Counsel Bensouda, he said he could not tell why the leased land at the traffic light was allocated.

Abdoulie Cham, the Director of Finance at SSHFC, was the next witness to be cross-examined by Counsel Mary Samba. Cham confirmed that SSHFC is a public enterprise, noting that there was a directive from the office of the former president and the secretary general, to pay $6,432,700 to Amadou Samba, for the purchase of a water tank, but did not make a follow-up because the directive came from the office of the former president.

He finally stated that the said directive came before their board approved the said sum.

Meanwhile, Abdoulie Cham, Director of Geology Department and Dr. Njogu Bah, former secretary general, were also cross-examined.

Sittings continue today.

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