By Dawda Faye
Dr Tamsir Mbowe, former director of presidential treatment programme, appeared before Janneh Commission of Inquiry probing into the financial dealings of the former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh. In his testimony Mbowe explained the motive behind the former President Jammeh’s presidential treatment programme, adding that the former President Jammeh claimed to be a medical doctor, but he has never seen any certificate certified to him.
Dr. Mbowe who once served as the minister of health and the director of medical service gave brief synopsis of his career as a medical practitioner and explained the various positions he held before he was appointed as the director general of presidential treatment programme.
According to him, the treatment programme started in 2007 and he was appointed as the director and was responsible for the clinical aspect of the programme to monitor the clinical condition of the patients.
Dr. Mbowe also said that an account was opened for the programme which he was a signatory to with Ansumana Jammeh and Nyima Badgie.
He further testified that Ansumana Jammeh was responsible for the medication of the treatment programme while confirmed signing a cheque and the donation of funds by NAWEC, AMRC and GNPC for the treatment programme.
He explained that the funds were used to buy group uniform for the treatment programme and other medical items as well as food stuff for the programme which he said was operated at State House , Ndemban Clinic and Kanilai until 2017 when the former president went into exile.
According to him, Ndemban Clinic served as a registration centre for the patients and was well equipped and functional at the time of the treatment programme.
He testified further that the former president was the leading doctor while he was the clinical expert but had no idea whether the former president was registered as a medical doctor or not.
Dr. Mbowe, however, pointed out that despite he was the director of the treatment and was paid by Jammeh with a salary of D21, 500; he said he did not have access to some of the records of the treatment programme.
He further testified that he was verbally appointed by the former president and had no idea whether he was exempted from tax.
According to him, about 48 staff were appointed by Jammeh for the programme but he had not got the record of the staff but was asked by commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, to provide the list of all the staff and the vehicles allocated for the programme.
He finally told the commissioners that to the best of his knowledge, the treatment programme was successful during the course of the treatment based on the medical point of view, claiming that the total death during the treatment was less than six.
Yam Mbamba Njie-Keita, former PS, office of the former president, also faced the commission in connection to the office of the former president and certain accounts during the period she served at the said office.
Isatou Auba, former PS at the office of the former president, also testified in relation to Kanilai Family Farm ram sales account and MRI account.
She was given a document which she confirmed, noting that she and Yam Mbamba Njie-Keita were assigned to supervise the sale of rams.
She testified that the soldiers were selling the rams but could not name all of them, noting that when the soldiers collected the funds, they gave them the money to be deposited into the account.
She further told the commission that Saul Badjie gave them directives to supervise the sale of the rams, confirming that she signed for the handing over of D2, 000, 000 to Saul Badjie who asked her to withdraw the money and gave it to him.
Mrs. Auba further told the commission that Saul Badjie did not tell her any authority to withdraw the said sum of money which was handed over to him.
She testified that the sale of rams in cash were deposited and that of the one-by-six were deducted from the salary of the civil servants.
At this juncture, she confirmed being a signatory to the MRI account but did not know the source of the account, noting that the former president instructed them to open the said account which was a presidential project.
Counsel Bensouda, at this point, put it to her that the sum of D7, 000,000 was requested for payment dated 16 July, 2015, from the said account. The said request was shown to her and she confirmed it and said that it was a directive from the office of the former president to pay the said sum as a matter of urgency.
She said she did not know why the money should be paid to Ismaila Sanyang and did not either know whether the money was withdrawn by Mr. Sanyang, as she did not find out.
At this juncture, a document relating to the said sum was tendered and admitted as an exhibit.
Another document was shown to her, indicating that she signed for the withdrawal of D2, 000,000 from MRI account, which she confirmed and said that there was a memo for her to withdraw the said money.
At this juncture, the said document was tendered and admitted in evidence.