By Fatou Sowe
Fatou Njie the current deputy head of mission at the Gambian embassy in Abuja and former protocol officer at the office of the former first lady, has told the Janneh Commission that almost all the international trips of Madam Jammeh were private and fund by her husband, former President Jammeh.
Madam Njie made this revelation on Thursday while advancing evidence about the financial transactions she was involved in with accounts under the commission’s investigation.
She revealed that most of the trips they embarked on were private and that she was usually engaged in the arrangement of flights and hotels while the payments were facilitated by the former president.
She went on to state that when they were to travel in through commercial flights she will make reservations and if it is through State Aircraft she will directly deal with GIA and Civil Aviation Authority while for Chartered Flights Zineb will give her contact details which she will contact and do arrangements and payment will be facilitated by former President Jammeh.
She said as protocol officer she did not know whether handling cash was part of her responsibilities but sometimes she was assigned to do so, adding that she was not given a job description as protocol officer.
However she said among her responsibilities was to arrange for the first lady’s travels, State Banquets and other official related activities. She added that she was once assigned to withdraw the total sum of D61 Million from the State Aircraft Account at the Central Bank of the Gambia but could not remember whether the directive was from the former First lady or the former President.
According to her after receiving the money, she handed it to a guard at the former president’s residence. She further revealed that she also used to send money on behalf of Zaineb Jammeh to USA and Morocco but could not remember on how many occasions.
Njie testified that the sum of $469,961.96 withdrawn from the Jammeh Foundation Account was sent to one Al Edriss Lala Mariam in Morocco, a Personal Assistant to the former First Lady through a Telex Transfer at the Trust Bank. At that point, documents relating to the telex transfer and list of trips of the former first lady including Chartered Flights were admitted as exhibits.