By Fatou Sowe
The former managing director of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, Edward Graham has reappeared at the Janneh Commission to further explain the various loans of millions of dalasis given out by SSHFC as a result of directives from the office of the former president.
Graham while answering to questions from Commissioner Saine on whether the corporation followed the normal procedure required by law in giving the loans, said that at the material time Jammeh’s executive directives cannot follow due procedures. Adding that he cannot go through the normal procedure with regard to directives from the office of the former president, that he said was the reason he referred the commission to the fact that they had two sets of procedures which are the normal and abnormal procedures.
According to him, the execution of the directives from the office of the former president was through the abnormal procedure. When asked by Commissioner George as to whether he was serving Jammeh or the best interest of Gambian workers, Graham who almost broke into tears said that he is part of those that built the corporation from zero to a multi-billion dalasi corporation but in the instances of the loans their hands were tied.
He further said that this is because the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation’s Act gave too much power to the president and needs to be amended. Graham during his previous testimony made references to various sections of the SSHFC Act to back his actions, however when he wanted to continue this trend he received a caution from the chairman of the commission, Sourahata Janneh who informed him that he did not introduced himself as a legal practitioner. Janneh went on to warn that ordinarily a person who is not a legal practitioner is not compelled to answer legal questions but because of his (Grahams) act of citing various laws, the commission’s counsel (Amie Bensouda) is forced to ask him legal questions, so he asked for the wrangling to stop.
The Commission Chairman further told Graham that as Commissioners they interested in facts and not law because they will come up with the position of the law at the end of the day. However Graham insisted that he wants to be permitted to defend his actions with the SSHFC Act 2015.
According to Graham, on September 27 2015, they (SSHFC) received directives from the office of the former president for the purchase of tents amounting to D88 Million and Central Bank of the Gambia served as guarantor and that this amount was eventually paid by CBG.
Graham also told the Commission as per the Act, the governing board of the SSHFC has no mandate to approve or disapprove directives from the minister of finance much more directives from the executive (office of the former president).
On the NAWEC loans, he further informed Commissioners that in their efforts to recover the outstanding debts they met the NAWEC management. He produced documents relating to the debt repayment agreement between the corporation and NAWEC which were admitted as exhibits.
On the loan for the purchase of fire and emergency vehicles, he said he was called to the state house by Dr Njogu Bah for the safety and security of the Banjul International Airport and the Corporation was asked to give a loan which will be refunded but he requested that they (office of the former president) write a formal request letter.
Documents relating to work-about board resolution of the NAWEC, Fire tenders and ambulance transactions were admitted as exhibits. He said he did not have a board resolution on the loans for the Tobaski rams and the state aircraft.
Graham also produced letters relating to actions the corporation adopted for the repayment of the loans which were admitted as exhibits.