Gambian business tycoon, Amadou Samba has said that his longtime associate the former President Yahya Jammeh was an ‘inconsistent friend’ as he managed to survive the past 22 years under his regime.
The former state counsel cum businessman made these revelations at the commission of inquiry probing into the financial activities of the former President Yahya Jammeh and his close associates at the Djembe Beach Hotel, Kololi.
When asked by Commissioner Bai Mass Saine whether he was a close associate of the former president he answered in the negative.
“He was an inconsistent friend,” Amadou Samba told Commissioners.
The business tycoon refuted the allegations of being a business associate of the former president saying their relationship was based on friendship which he describe as ‘inconsistent’. He explained how he managed to survive the former President’s 22 year regime. He added that he was not his business associate and had never interfered with his power politics.
“That was how I survived his regime,” Mr Samba asserted.
“If you were his business associate he will take everything and send you to jail,” he added.
Samba described his relations with the former president as one that was only based on social relationship.
The business tycoon said he was already successful in business before he met the former president, saying he started cement importation since 1986. He explained several businesses he had including fishing with Moroccan partners saying they had 5 fishing trollers trolling the waters of Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau exporting the catches to Las Palmas.
The lawyer turned businessman repeatedly complained about the speculations people are making about his past relations with the former president which he said is not fair because the former president used to take advantage of him which has cost him a lot.
“He will make unnecessary demands by asking me to borrowed him money which he will not return,” he said.
Mr Samba refuted the allegations of managing the former president’s businesses but instead was managing him to save his own life from danger.
“I never had any business relation with the former president or worked with him,” he interjected.
The business tycoon told the commission that the former president after he fell out with the late Baba Jobe wanted him to continue with the importation of rice, cooking oil and onions among others. He said the president told him that the Governor of Central Bank would facilitate things. He added that after the meeting with the former president, he went straight to the office of the then Governor, Clarke Bayo telling him to count him out.
“People always make allegations against me saying I have $900 Million of the former president,” he interjected.
Samba refuted this allegation saying it is unfounded for he had never shared accounts or transfer money to any of the former president’s accounts.
“It is my enemies who want to assassinate my character,” Amadou Samba told the commission.
He added: “That is money laundering.”
The former state counsel cum businessman confirmed to the commission that the former president was the one who purchased the Kairaba Beach Hotel, denying his involvement in the transaction. He refuted the testimony made by Momodou Lamin Sonko of M.A Kharaffi and Sons. He denied playing any part in the sale of Kairaba Beach Hotel to M.A Kharaffi and Sons. He said he never met Mr Sonko to discuss the sale of the said hotel.
“It has never happened,” he told the commission.
Samba said he is surprised how Sonko could put him in the picture when it was Lawyer Edu Gomez who signed the document.
“People always want to use my name,” he said.
The business tycoon revealed that the hotel was purchased through late Baba Jobe who appointed him as symbolic chairman of the hotel. He said the hotel was run by Baba Jobe and Robert Aswande.
Samba tendered bundles of documents including assignments, transfer shares from Baba Jobe and Lang Conteh to Millennium Industrial and General Trading Company, a company owned by the former president among others were admitted and marked as exhibits.
Mr Samba confirmed his membership of the former president’s political party and his financial support to the party.
When asked by Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda about the D3 Million transferred to his account from the Kanilai Festival tribute to Michael Jackson, he said it was used to purchase CFA for former president.
Meanwhile, former Solicitor General Pa Harry Jammeh and former GNPC Managing Director Momodou Badjie both appeared at the commission.