By Dawda Faye
Natalie Gomez-Ceesay, former protocol officer, office of the president, earlier today appeared before the Janneh Commission and said that the former president, Yahya Jammeh, told her that he would transfer a land situated at Kololi to her. She was summoned in connection to the said land.
She testified that she was a protocol officer attached to the office of the president from 2009 to 2011, November; adding that she is now studying law at the University of The Gambia. She said it was correct that she was summoned in connection to the said property.
Before continuing her testimony, she was given her statement, which she confirmed and then signed it before the commission; she also confirmed that she was occupying the property.
She told the commission that while at state house, the former president told her that he was interested in her father’s land situated at Nemakunku to build an estate. She said they, as a family, agreed to transfer the land to the former president without giving them anything.
According to her, the former president asked her what she was going to do with the money given to her by her dad, and she responded that she was going to build a house. She added that few days later, the former president called her again and informed her that he had a property at Kololi and would transfer it to her name.
She revealed that after the transfer, the documents were given to her by Mr. Amadou Samba. She said that it came to her knowledge that her dad talked to the former president. She revealed that the former president told her that she should go back to tell her dad that he wanted the land.
She told the commission that her dad asked her how did the former president know about the land and she told her father that she did not know. She testified that her father told her that he would transfer the land to the former president.
At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda asked her whether she was aware that her dad’s transfer of ownership was not completed but she responded that she had no idea.
It was put to her that her father told the commission that he gave the land to the former president without any consideration. In response, she confirmed that she heard her father say so.
Counsel Bensouda put it to her that the said land belongs to Kainilai Family Farmers, and she answered in the positive. However, she said her father’s land cannot be compared to the house given to her by the former president; adding that she was told that the said property was owned by one Mr. Bojang who had a financial problem and sold the land to the former president.
At this juncture, her statement dated 10th March, 2018, was tendered and admitted as exhibit.
Earlier, Ms. Kumba Jobarteh, who confirmed to be a friend of Aisha Fatty for 5-6 years, also testified before the commission in relation to a property situated at Bijilo, which Aisha Fatty claimed to be the owner.
She stated that she is a businesswoman, and has a fashion shop called Dada’s at Kotu, noting that she knew Aisha fatty through her aunt; adding that Aisha Fatty was working at State House.
The businesswoman further testified that she did not know Gen. Saul Badjie, and she never met him.
At this juncture, she was given a document which she said she signed as witness for Aisha Fatty, but prior to that, Aisha told her that she bought a house and wanted her to serve as a witness on the transfer of ownership certificate.
According to her, she had been to the house but could not remember the date. She disclosed that she made a statement to the investigators.
At this juncture, she was given a statement which she went through and confirmed that she signed the said statement.
It was put to her that she signed as a witness for a transfer of ownership which she said was prepared by Saul Badjie. Mrs. Bensouda then asked her how she knew that it was prepared by Saul Badjie. In response, she told the commission that she was told by the investigators that the house was sold to Aisha Fatty.
Further testifying, she stated that she does not know whether Aisha Fatty gave money to Saul Badjie.
At this juncture, the statement signed by her dated 26th January, 2016, was tendered by Counsel Bensouda. It was put to her that the date written on the transfer of ownership was 17th February, 2015. She responded that the document was not brought to her to sign as a witness in 2017.
Sittings continue on the 31st October, 2018.