By Fatou Sowe
Dr Njogu L Bah the former secretary general and head of the civil service has said that former President Jammeh had a big appetite for money as a result of which he Jammeh will dig his hands anywhere he likes.
He made this remark while responding to questions from the Janneh Commission counsel Amie Bensouda who asked about the various loans the office of the former president took from the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation which are still outstanding.
Bah was summoned to explain the various loan requests he made to social security for the financing of several activities Jammeh and his office were involved in. He added that the demand for funds at social security was too much and at some point he felt sorry for the corporation and he always told Jammeh to give them (social security) a break. However, he said that Jammeh believed at that time that social security had money that he could use it.
While commenting on the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation loans transactions he was involved in, Bah said that he did make a loan request on March 17, 2011, for the sum of $1 million which was paid in two installments. Bah explained that $500, 000 was meant for compensation to families of the Ghanaians who lost their lives in the country.
He went on to state that the said sum was received in cash by Dr Basirat Niasse who was introduced to him by Jammeh through the director of protocol Alhagie Ousman Ceesay. Adding that he doesn’t know in what capacity the lady (Dr Niasse) had to receive the cash.
He disclosed further that the other $500, 000 was for the government of Japan but it was later cancelled and the office of the former president then requested the money for another purpose.
On the D15 million for the purchase of rams, he said he wrote the request as a result of a directive from Jammeh and at that point it didn’t sound proper but there was a justification that it was meant to help low income earners. He added that the funds for the ram sales was handled by some officials at the office of the former president.
He further explained that he also wrote the loan request of D148. 5 million to the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation for the acquisition of another state aircraft because the available state aircraft was not economical with fuel so there was a need to have another one.
Bah was shown another loan request of €200, 000 he wrote, which he explained was made on behalf of the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) after the management met Jammeh to seek for his intervention to enable viewers to watch the CAF league. He added that the loan was to be paid by GRTS through commercials but he does not recall making any follow ups on the payment of the loan.
He also offered explanation on the $3.6 million loan request he made for the purchase of fire tenders and ambulances. He also spoke about the his participation in the purchase of the John Deere tractors.