The man behind Julakay Company, Ansumana Marenah known as “Julakay” has appeared before the Commission of Inquiry probing into Faraba Bantan incident at The Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.
The Faraba incident has caused the death of three youths leaving several others injured.
Julakay who testified in Mandinka said he first acquired a Mining License in 2007 from the Geology Department with approval from the National Environmental Agency. He added that her later renewed the license in 2017, following the advise of the former Secretary General, Dawda Federa.
“I was advised by the Geology Director to seek the consent of the villagers before any mining activities,” Julakay said.
“I met the Village Head (Alkali) of Faraba who summoned a meeting in the presence of Lamin Star Bojang, former Works Minister, Council of Elders and some VDC members,” he added.
The former Jammeh associate and financier of APRC Party said he made agreements with the villagers to rehabilitate their road, build a market for women, buy cash cash power for the village borehole as well as relocate and fence the football field.
“I gave D35, 000 Dalasi to the village head for the development of the village mosque”
Abdoulie M Cham, Director of Geologyl Department also testified before the commission. He was asked to provide the initial License documentation of Julakay Company after saying that the company was issued License in 2007. He could not provide the documents.
The Kombo East Chief, Babucarr Sanyang was next to testify he said he knows nothing about how Julakay acquired his mining documents. Julakay was first introduced to him by Jung Conteh, former Chief and MP of Kombo East. He confirmed attending a meeting at the Ministry of Local Government with the former IGP, Geology officials and Faraba elders to resolve the crisis.
Chief Sanyang said the village youths attacked his house and destroyed his properties equivalent to D375, 000 Dalasi.
Nuha Kujabi, Alkalo of Faraba Bantang said Julakay informed him about the license, saying he wanted to have a meeting with the villagers. The meeting was attended by the Chief, VDC Chairman and Council of Elders.
“Julakay brought D15, 000 Dalasi with Kola nuts to the meeting,” Alkalo Kujabi said.
He added that the village has signed an MoU with Julakay to deposit D100, 000 Dalasi, a quota of the mining income but failed to turned up to a meeting called by the VDC regarding the environmental damages caused by the mining.
“This angered the youths and they condemned the mining of the quarry”
Alhagie Sanyang, VDC Chairman refuted the D100, 000 Dalasi Agreement with Julakay, complaining that further mining of the quarry would suffocate the rice cultivation and cause erosion. He explained the visit of the National Assembly Select Committee on Environment to the quarry. The Committee promised to communicate to Julakay and Geology Department.
“Three days later Honourable Suwaibou Touray, head of the Committee informed us that they met Julakay who responded that only Geology could stop him because they issued him a license,” Chairman Sanyang said.
“Julakay continued on his mining operations”
The VDC Chairman said he was called on June 18 while at work about the riot between the PIU officers and the village youths.