Fraud Investigator Testifies in Health Officials’ Economic Crimes, Corruption Trial

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By Mariama Marong

Sheriff Corr, a member of the Fraud Squad Unit of the Gambia Police Force (GPF), Wednesday, 14 February 2024 testified in the economic crimes and corruption trial involving three (3) senior health officials.
The accused are Bala Kandeh, Muhammad Lamin Jaiteh and Omar Malleh Jassey.

The witness said the Global Fund grant to the Ministry of Health was about 13 Million Dollars.

He said during the investigations, the accused persons were invited for questioning and their statements were obtained. He added that they also obtained some other documents relating to the Global Fund and the Ministry of Health and correspondences between the Global Fund and the Ministry of Finance.

After the review of the documents, the witness said they discovered that Six Million Dalasi (D6,000,000) was the overpayments made by Lamin Jarju as payment to drivers, purchase of fuel and payments to all the participants in all the regions.
He said the documents that were retired after the projects indicated that they had paid four (4) consultants, which include Mohamed Sissoko, Basiru Phillot, Abou Sillah and Mamud Ceesay. He said the consultants denied receiving the funds.

“Cumulatively, all of these amounts when calculated were four million above together with the 3% obtained by HePDO which is equivalent to D266,000 as administrative upkeep. The amount given to the consultants was also equivalent to D315,000 in total. So putting all these together, it was equivalent to Four Million Seven Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand, Three Hundred Dalasi. The four million was recovered from HePDO and paid to the Central Bank Treasury account,” he submitted.

The witness said Basiru and Muhammed said they only withdrew monies based on the instruction of Lamin Jarju, who used to give them cheques to encash.
He said during the interaction with the two consultants, they informed them that they were brought on board by Mr Lamin Jarju, the deputy programmes manager at the National Malaria Control Programme.
They are facing 18 criminal charges of official corruption, disobedience of statutory duty, conspiracy to commit felony, economic crimes forgery, and theft.