By Dawda Faye
Bai Matarr Drammeh, a businessman, yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission and stated that the Jammeh Foundation for Peace sometimes had no money to pay auditors. He was summoned in relation to the said foundation. He told the commission that he was a board member in 2005 at the foundation, and also deputy chairman of the fundraising committee.
He testified that he was invited as a board member, noting that the foundation was a charitable organisation and that he did not see the constitution of the foundation. He said that the foundation was an NGO, adding that he did not request for the copy of the constitution neither was it given to him.
Mr Drammeh disclosed that permanent secretaries, Ardy Sarge, Badara Mbaye, Marie Saine-Firdaus and Mama Singhateh were members of the board, further indicating that Sulayman Badjie was acting as CEO.
He confirmed that he became a signatory to the dalasi account of the foundation, and that he was never presented with a dollar request. At this juncture, he was never presented with a dollar request. At this juncture, he was given some documents to confirm his signature.
He then went through them and confirmed his signature, revealing that he was not aware that the former president was a signatory to the account. He told the commission that the function of the foundation was to raise funds, which were handed over to the foundation, stating that the CEO would bring reports to their meeting.
Mr Drammeh narrated that the foundation was audited every year, indicating that Alieu Ceesay audited the foundation not very long. He disclosed that he heard about the grants given to the Jammeh Foundation from the Taiwanese government , adding that what he knew was limited in relation to the funds from the Taiwanese government.
He testified that they were given school books worth of $75,000 and Father Gough also gave the foundation $5,000, further saying that they were not informed that grants were coming to the foundation.
It was put to him that he should have gone through the audit at the time, and in response, he said they were limited to some activities happening at the foundation. He told the commission that certainly monies were coming in dollars but they were not involved.
At this juncture, his statement was given to him to identify, and he confirmed endorsing it, narrating that PEGEP was a separate organisation dealing with girls’ education. He informed the commission that Dominic Jammeh became CEO of PEGEP, stating that monies would come to PEGEP for the Jammeh Foundation but Dominic Jammeh would tell him that they spent the money, and promised to refund it.
He testified that when they received cheques, they would go directly to the former president. It was put to him that over $10,000,000 was paid into the foundation. In response, he said they only knew the funds they raised but they never knew anything about the said money.
Documents relating to his statement and the foundation were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Next to testify was Ms. Nancy Seedy Njie, a business woman, doing catering services. She was summoned in connection to the same subject matter. She told the commission that she was the minister of Tourism from 2008 t0 2010, further stating that she was the CEO of the foundation from 2010 to 2013.
She adduced that she was sacked as minister in 2010, and her responsibility at the foundation was to manage the staff and to report to the board. She told the commission that the former president was the patron of the foundation and the former first lady was the president.
She indicated that she saw the constitution and read it, noting that the foundation was set up by the former president to help the needy and empower girls. She testified further that they sought the advice of the board before doing anything, stating that Ardy Sarge was the chairman of the board, and they did not have a budget.
Ms. Njie adduced that she did not know that the foundation was receiving monies from the Taiwanese government, indicating that she never dealt with any dollar account. At this juncture, she was shown letters dated 4thJuly, 2010, and 4th April, 2011, indicating transfers of monies to the Trust Bank account of the foundation which was believed she signed, and confirmed signing them.
At this juncture, she was shown a statement of dollar account to the tune of $5,000 which she signed. She stated that the said amount was donated by Father Gough.
It was put to her that $2,000,000, $500,000 and $500,000 were donated by Euro Africa Group. In response, she told the commission that they never received any statement from Trust Bank indicating that they had a dollar account.
She revealed that she was only aware of the dollar account of Father Gough, adding that she was not aware that the former president was a signatory to the foundation’s account. She said that the Taiwanese embassy did not find out monies they put into the dollar account of the foundation.
At this juncture, dollar account statement of the foundation and other documents were tendered and admitted as exhibit.
She testified that she had nothing to do with the presidential treatment programme neither did she have anything to do with PEGEP.
Hearing continues on Monday.