Karamo Jawara Tells Janneh Commission That Almost €2 Million Was Withdrawn From Central Bank Outside Banking Hours

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By Fatou Sowe

The Principal Banking Officer at the Central Bank of The Gambia, Karamo Jawara has reappeared for the third time before the Janneh commission to give evidence on the various accounts opened by the office of the former President.

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    With regard to the State Aircraft Special Account, Jawara said it was a Euro Account which was opened on July 7, 2011. He said the account was operated and controlled by office of the former President, Yahya Jammeh.

    Mr. Jawara further testified that the first transaction was on October 12, 2011, and the last transaction was on December 13, 2011. He added that the request to open the account was sent to the Governor, Central Bank from the Director of Treasury. Jawara informed the commission that the account is not close but not active adding that the signatories to the account were Yahya Jammeh and Mamburay Njie the then Finance Minister.

    He disclosed that the funds were from the State Qatar but added that the purpose of the funds was not stated.

    According to him the first withdrawal on the account was a cash withdrawal of €500, 000 on November 23, 2011 but they couldn’t trace the transaction documents. The order he said was from the Office of the President.

    Mr Jawara also recalled that the second transaction was a cash payment on December 1, 2011 and the amount withdrawn was €503, 190.97. According to him, the transaction took place outside banking hours. He said the bank only has a payment voucher and they have no information on the person to whom the payment was made to.

    He added that there was another transaction done outside banking hours and this transaction was a €1,000,000 cash withdrawal which he said they only traced a payment voucher and no other documents on the transaction too.

    This prompted the commission counsel Amie Bensouda to ask who the governor of the bank was at the material time of these extraordinary transactions. Jawara responded that Amadou Colley was the governor while Ousainou Corr was the director of finance.

    Jawara continued that another €1,000,000 was paid from this account to the Global Trading Group through a bank transfer to a bank in Brussel for the purchase of Boeing 757 and that it was in respect of an invoice from the Global Trading Group to the Office of the President.

    Mr Jawara further testified that on December 2, 2011, there was another transaction of €720, 000 paid to the Global Trading Group for the purchase of four coach buses and the invoice for the transaction was sent to the Kanilai Family Farm, adding that another €270,000 was paid to Global Trading Group and the invoices were addressed to the Kanilai Family Farm. The balance left in the said account was €1702.03 he said.

    He went on to take the commission through the transactions on the Youth Development Fund’s dollar and dalasi accounts.

    Mr Jawara is expected to give evidence on the account of the Office of the First Lady and that of the National Security next week.

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