Janneh Commission Urged To Discharge Order Against Amadou Samba

Ms. Mary Samba, counsel for Mr.Amadou Samba, yesterday urged the Janneh Commission to discharge the interim order against Mr.Amadou Samba. She was continuing her address on issues affecting her client. She said Mr. Samba exclusively owns the companies she cited earlier.

According to her, the business tycoon, Mr. Samba, testified before the commission that the former president used to ask him to negotiate properties on his behalf and then referred the commission to some of the exhibits before it.  She added that Mr. Samba explained the circumstances in which a property was acquired at Tobacco Road in Banjul.

On the Observer Company, she said the commission was interested in the sale of the company, adding that Mr. Samba was approached by one Mr. Thomas who said he (Thomas) was interested.

She further told the commission that Mr. Samba told Mr. Thomas that he would transfer ownership of the company to him. She added that the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company showed that there was transfer of ownership to Baba .K. Jobe and others.

Continuing her address, she urged the commission to accept the testimony of Mr. Samba regarding the sale of the “Observer” newspaper. She submitted that the leased building at Kairaba Avenue (Traffic Light) was properly acquired in accordance with the 1997 constitution and the lands Act respectively.

She went on to say that it was confirmed by the former Minister of Lands that the said property was allocated to Mr. Samba for commercial purposes. “There was no confusing evidence to show that the land was acquired in the right way,” she submitted.

At this juncture, she referred the commission to Section 13 sub-section 3 and 4 of the lands Act , which she said explained how lands are allocated. “I therefore urge the commission to consider the laws for allocating lands and also hold that the land was properly acquired by Mr. Samba,” said Counsel Samba.

According to her, there was an executive directive from the former president for the purchase of 5% share of the Qatari Company by SSHFC but this was not a decision from SSHFC board of directors, which she said was just a rubber stamp board under the former president.

She further disclosed that Mr. Samba had explained to the commission as to how this 5% share of the said company was purchased. She then referred the commission to Section 5 of the SSHFC Act which she cited to support her argument.  “I have no doubt that these issues will be considered in your deliberation,” said Samba’s lawyer.

She further submitted to the commission that Ousman Jammeh, former Secretary General, admitted that he signed a letter for a debt from SSHFC, adding that SSHFC former Managing Director, Momodou Lamin Gibba, and Finance Director, Abdoulie Cham, had the responsibility to protect the funds of the corporation.

She said her client had no idea as to where the money for the Michael Jackson celebration came from, noting that public enterprises were controlled by the former government.

She further adduced that the former president was in control of all the institutions because he was a dictator; adding that directives from the office of the former president led to the circumstances in which they operated.

According to her, checks and balances, rule of law and good governance were not observed or protected under the former president and implored on the commission to hold the former president responsible for the losses of some public institutions.

Ms. Samba also pointed out that Momodou Sabally’s testimony corroborated Mr. Samba’s evidence and urged the commission to hold the former president accountable.

She said that withdrawal of funds was the directives of the former president, and submitted that there was no evidence that her client benefited from the purchase of a water tank for KFF, and then urged the commission to dismiss the evidence against her client in its entirety.

She finally submitted that none of the 12 companies operated by his client was associated with the former president.

At this juncture, Mrs.Bensouda said she would reply to Counsel Samba’s address. Chairman Sourahata Janneh then told the commission that Counsel Mary Samba would be notified as to when Counsel Bensouda would reply to her address.

Victoria Andrews continued her address on behalf of Mr.Bazzi.

The commission resumes on Monday.

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