By Dawda Faye
Julia Joiner, former Secretary General at the office of the former president, today disclosed before the Janneh Commission that her redeployment was tantamount to a demotion.
She was answering a question posed by Counsel Mary Samba who asked her under cross-examination to tell the commission the reason why she retired. Mary Samba was representing Mr. Amadou Samba.
Prior to the questioning, she was given a file from the office of the former president when she was the secretary general to go through, which she confirmed. She told the commission that NAWEC was under the office of the former president.
At this juncture, she was referred to a document, and she said that Mr. Saihou Mboge was the permanent secretary at the time, adding that the said document was about a directive from the office of the former president for Euro Africa Group to supply generators to NAWEC.
She was given another letter which she read and stated that it indicated an agreement between Global Trading Group and NAWEC for the supply of generators, further noting that the former president was involved in the discussion for the supply of generators to NAWEC by Global Trading Group.
Mrs. Joiner adduced that she had never met Amadou Samba, Muhammed Bazzi and others to discuss the supply of generators to NAWEC by Global Trading Group, noting that directives were coming from the office of the former president and not from her.
On the 18 mega watt generators, she posited that the officials who were at the meeting are in a better position to explain what had transpired at the meeting, stating that she was not sure about the $5,000,000 for the purchase of generators by NAWEC from Global Trading Group. “I tried to level stability within the system,” she told the commission.
At this juncture, documents relating to the supply of generators by Global Trading Group to NAWEC and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Still answering questions under cross-examination, she testified that she served as secretary general at the office of the former president since 1996, stating further that the protocol officer at the office of the former president at the time would be able to tell who frequented the office of the former president.
She disclosed that there was a list of those who were going to visit the former president, saying further that if there was an investigation into the investment on Kairaba Beach Hotel and the Daily Observer, she was not expected to remember all the details about it.
Mrs. Joiner told the commission that the property at Kanilai is owned by the former president and that they used to have meetings there and visitors used to meet the former president there. She adduced that Cabinet meetings used to be held there as well.
She testified that she would not remember whether constructions started at Kanilai. At this juncture, Commissioner Saine asked her whether the former president had discussed with her his dealings with Euro Africa Group. In response, she stated that she was not involved in any matter relating to Muhammed Bazzi and his group.
She said that she voluntarily retired on the 26th of November, 2002, because she was redeployed while Alieu Ngum was reinstated as the secretary general.
Next to testify under cross-examination by Counsel Mary Samba was Ousman Jammeh, former secretary general. At this juncture, Counsel Samba asked the commission to give the witness an exhibit which was a leased document to go through, which was done.
Mr. Jammeh confirmed the said document as well as his signature on it, as the permanent secretary, Ministry of Lands. He also confirmed that the document was approved in 2001, further noting that Amadou Samba also signed the said document.
He also confirmed a title deed of a land at the Trafficlight. He told the commission that he held the position of secretary general twice, and that he was redeployed.
When another exhibit dated 3rd August, 2011, was shown to him, he confirmed that he wrote the said document which was for a loan and endorsed it, but not Amadou Samba.
Counsel Mary Samba then put it to him that it was not proper to sign on a plain sheet of paper which was a letter he wrote to an institution. “As far as I am concerned, there was a directive from the office of the former president to write the said letter,” he further testified.
At this juncture, he was referred to an invoice which was directed to Kanilai Family Farms, which he confirmed. On the purchase of tanks, he said he did not make a follow-up, adding that he was dismissed after he received directives from the former president.
Commission Saine then asked him whether he had ever queried the way and manner the former president was handling the National Assembly. He responded in the negative. “You have worked for the former president long to know better,” Counsel Mary Samba challenged him. In response, he told the commission that he was working for the country and not for the former president.
It was again put to him by Mary Samba that it was his responsibility to make sure that the loans incurred by NAWEC were paid, as the secretary general.
Still answering a question asked by Counsel Bensouda, he said that he could not tell why the leased land at the Trafficlight was allocated.
Abdoulie Cham, the director of Finance at SSHFC, was the next witness to be cross-examined by Counsel Mary Samba.
He confirmed that SSHFC is a public enterprise, noting that there was a directive from the office of the former president and the secretary general to pay $6,432,700 to Amadou Samba for the purchase of a water tank, but did not make a follow-up because the directive came from the office of the former president.
He finally stated that the said directive came before their board approved the said sum.