By Dawda Faye
The managing director of Trust Bank, Ebrima Sallah, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that the deduction of over $100,000 and transferred to various accounts, noting that the former president was a signatory to all the accounts where funds were deducted and transferred.
He, however, told the commissioners that he had not seen the facility letter indicating the terms and conditions of the loan with regard to the Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP) accounts; adding that no correspondence was shown to him and concluded that the document was not at their office.
He further told the commission that he was not competent to tell the commission why there was no facility letter to give a loan to Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP). He reappeared to explain the deduction of funds from various accounts relating to the former president and Jammeh Foundation for Peace among other accounts.
According to him, the former president was the one managing the said accounts and also gave instructions for the transaction on the foundation’s accounts and other related accounts. “It is unacceptable to give out the loan without a facility letter,” Commissioner Saine told the witness.
At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda reminded him that the commission was expecting documents relating to JFP accounts.
Mr. Augustus Prom Junior, Louise Prom, also reappeared before the commission with regard to the Westwood Company and was told by Mrs. Bensouda that he was to provide information relating to Westwood Company in connection to payments made to the former president. In response, Mr. Prom disclosed that he had the information.
He told the commission that they had given BPI Tourism and Services officials’ access to the records of Westwood Company for the exportation of timber.
He also gave the summary of the timber exported by the company from the years 2014 to 2017 and the total containers of timber exported, he said, was 13,028 valued at $39,084,000.
He also provided the loan agreement between Westwood Company and its other agencies, testifying that the sum of $5 million-loan was in respect of Ocean Bay Hotel while the sum of $ 2 million-loan was in respect of Sun Beach Hotel, and there was another loan of $500,000 in respect of the Mineral Company which had 3 years grace period without an interest.
According to him, the sum of over D 38, 000,000 was outstanding while the sum of D 62, 933,406 was in relation to Sun Beach Hotel, further stating that the sum of $7,810,115 was disbursed to Kanilai Family Farms as advance dividend by Westwood Company from the years 2015 to 2016.
Mr. Prom also told the commission that he had the tenancy agreement between BPI Tourism and Services Ltd. and Westwood Company and the sum of $40,000 was the annual payment agreement.
Further testifying, he said The Gambia Revenue Authority is claiming the sum of D 253, 000,000 from Westwood Company and out of this sum, the company only paid the sum of D 70, 000,000 with regard to tax while Maersk Line Shipping Agency is claiming the sum of D 11.2 million for the containers used for shipment, while GIEPA is claiming the sum of $5 million for the warehouse at the airport. He added that the total debt for Westwood Company amounted to D 273, 930,000.
At this juncture, summary of the containers exported and other related documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Mr. Anthony Panetta, former Westwood administrator, also reappeared before the commission and informed that he is the only director of BPI Tourism and Services Ltd.
He was summoned in connection to some documents to be submitted to the commission with regard to Westwood and BPI Tourism and Services Ltd. respectively.
Documents produced by the witness including the Memorandum and Article of Association of BPI Tourism and Services Ltd. correspondences between the witness and the managing director of BPI, agreement between Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation and BPI for the management of both Ocean Bay and Sun Beach hotels were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Mrs. Bensouda told him that he was expected to compile dividend to BPI which should be submitted to the commission.
The commission will resume on the 19th of March, 2018.