By Mamadou Dem
Mr. Momodou Lamin Gibba, former Managing Director of the Gambia Ports Authority, yesterday reappeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission and confirmed the properties owned by the former president in his (Gibba’s) native village. His reappearance was in connection to the said properties.
Prior to dwelling on the issue, Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda, showed him some documents to confirm if they had to do with the former president’s properties. He however said he was not familiar with the documents but was aware of the operation on the land allocations by his father; that there was a personal connection between the Gibba family and that of the former president, further stating that his father, spent most of his life in Kanilai with the former president’s family.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that GPA’s monies were spent on these properties situated in his native village of Dobong. Mr. Gibba responded that it was part of the GPA’s Corporate Social responsibility and they were responsible for the cleaning, tiling and weeding of the said properties; that the GPA made sure that whatever they were doing, they copied to the permanent secretary; that there was no permanent salary for the workers but rather they were given allowances. He disclosed that proceeds generated from the farms, were usually taken to the office of the former president.
At this point, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that payments were made to villages. In response, Gibba told Commissioners that they were not paying allowances to villages but provided them with food and kola nuts. He was again asked by Counsel Bensouda whether there were other farms supported by the GPA and he responded that they concentrated only on Dobong farms; that he was told by villagers that the dilapidated building which was subsequently demolished, was built by Mr. Amadou Samba.
On whether he had anything to do with the demolition, he replied that dock workers were part of those who demolished the building; that most of the items in the building were stolen.
At this juncture, documents relating to the properties of the former president in Dobong, were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Again, Counsel Bensouda put it to Gibba that there was a farm manager at the said property and he responded in the affirmative; that the farm manager was employed by him but was not paid monthly salary by the GPA. Counsel Bensouda further put it to the witness, that the former president was given D11,000,000 in exchange of 10,000 bags of sugar by GPA, while he was the MD. Mr. Gibba confirmed this after going through some documents which were shown to him.
Commissioner Saine intervened and asked Gibba whether he was concerned with the conflict of interest of operating a farm, when the GPA was not a business entity. He however responded that the land was given to the former president for agricultural purposes.
Counsel Bensouda asked Gibba whether he supported the Dobong farms when he was the MD at SSHFC and he replied that he was not aware.
At this juncture, documents relating to the D11, 000,000 that was given in exchange of 10,000 bags of sugar to the former president by GPA, were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Gibba finally testified that he endeavored for the former president to understand the difference between the State and himself.
Hearing continues today.