By Dawda Faye
Maba Jobe, the former Gambia High Commissioner to Nigeria, on Monday, told the Janneh Commission that he was put in the darkness when crude oil was being lifted to The Gambia from Nigeria.
He told the commission that he is a businessman and worked in the public service, and left in 2002, stating that he was in the military from 1980 to 1982. He further narrated that he was in the gendarmerie and later joined the army.
He said that he was an interim army commander, and that when he was a high commissioner, Sanni Abarcha was the president of Nigeria.
At this juncture, he was shown a letter dated 1996 and was asked by Counsel Bensouda to tell the commission what he knew about the said letter but he told the commission that it was the first time that he saw the letter.
He was again asked how he knew that there was a delegation to make an arrangement for the lifting of the oil, and he said that Samuel Sarr, Dominic Mendy and Batata Jawara were part of the delegation.
He further stated that he was informed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the delegation would arrive in Nigeria for the lifting of the crude oil, adding that no letters were delivered to his office for the arrival of the delegation.
It was put to him that there was a request made to the former president of Nigeria, Mr. Obasanjo, to lift the crude oil to The Gambia. In response, he said he had already left at the time, further testifying that most African countries were benefiting from the facility.
Mr. Jobe informed the commission that he was surprised to see Samuel Sarr to be part of the delegation because he was not a government official, revealing that Mr. Sarr went to Nigeria more than once. He recalled that there was a court case about the lifting of the crude oil which he read in the papers.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine put it to him that he was sidelined by the former president but he said he did not know the reason. He was again asked by Commissioner Saine whether he learned any conflict of interest in the way the lifting of the crude oil was being done, and he responded that he had no role in the lifting of the oil. He further revealed that he never signed any contract for the lifting of the said oil.
Next to testify was the former managing director of NAWEC, Alagie Conteh. He narrated that he is a businessman and has a company called Dabananeh Electrical Company. He told the commission that he worked with NAWEC since 1979 before he started his own company, noting that he was the Transmission and Distribution manager.
He disclosed that he became the managing director in 1999 and was demoted in 2001 when he finally left NAWEC. He was asked whether there was abdication of resources by the former president at NAWEC. He answered that there was interference by the former president.
Mr. Conteh revealed that before the interference by the former president, NAWEC was doing well, and that their generator number 6 was performing well, adding that this generator is the best.
He adduced that some Italians and the former government were to sign a contract for some generators, further noting that the former president asked him to sign the contract and he (the former president) would be his witness. He said he told the former president to give him time to peruse the documents.
Mr. Conteh told the commission that the former president told the Italians that he (Mr. Conteh) had to go through the documents. He said he did not sign and was then removed from his position and later reinstated. He said that Amadou Samba, Mr. Bazzi and Baba Jobe met him in his office and asked him to go ahead with the contract but he told them that he needed a certificate to confirm that the generators were new, adding that he was told by Mr. Bazzi that the former president was already in for the contract.
He told the commission that Mr. Bazzi destroyed some human elements and that when Bazzi knew you were professional, he would get you sacked. He narrated that NAWEC was in difficulties because of excessive interference of the former government.