Zineb Jammeh

(JollofNews) – The principal banking officer of the Central Bank of the Gambia, Karamo Jawara, Tuesday used his testimony at the commission of inquiry probing numerous allegations of mismanagement of public funds, abuse of office, and wilful violations of public funds by former President Yahya Jammeh and his associates to reveal details of the financial dealings of the country’s former First Lady.

Mr Jawara said Mr Jammeh’s wife, Zineb Jammeh, held two accounts in Dalasis and US dollar with the Central Bank of the Gambia.

He added that Mrs Jammeh’s Dollar account was opened on 18th July 2013, a day after the bank received a request from the Accountant General of the Gambia. He said the signatories were Momodou Sabally, Nuha Touray, and Ms Halimatou Tambedou.

Mr Jawara said the account was credited with US$32, 988.71 by sources in Niger and Ethiopia. He added the account is now empty following three separate withdrawals.

Further giving evidence, the principal banking officer said President Jammeh’s office also held a special security account with the Central Bank from March 2010 which the former president, Njogu Bah, and Alagie Ousman Ceesay were signatories.

He added that the account was credited with D645, 512, 383.59 out of which D639, 966.62 was withdrawn. He said at the time the account was being closed on 21st January 2017, there was a balance of D4, 187, 803.77.

Mr Jawara said the bank was told by the Office of the President that the account, which was partly funded from the consolidated revenue fund, was used to finance their travel per diems, expenses on maintenance of aircraft and air tickets.

He revealed that the bank was once instructed by Nuha Touray and Isatou O. Bah, senior staffers at Mr Jammeh’s office to pay US$ 55, 400 one Ms Adam Ngum, a senior accountant at the Office of the President. He said no reasons were given why such colossal amount was paid to Ms Ngum.

He said the bank also made a payment of USD 66, 276.59 for Mr Jammeh’s wife and her delegation following a request by the Office of the President.

Mr Jawara added that on 19th May 2016, over two million Dalasis was paid to Safari Lodge for President Jammeh’s nationwide tour.

He said the bank was also authorised to pay US$185, 000 to the state-owned Gambia International Airline (GIA) as operation budget for the state aircraft and a further US$46, 900 was withdrawn from the account for the payment of senior medical personnel.