One of the business partners of exiled former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has come under heavy scrutiny by the Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the financial transactions of Jammeh and his close business associates.
Tony Ghattas, a lead witness and managing director of Alhamadulli Mining and Petroleum company, a company owned by Jammeh specializing in mining business was questioned by the chairman of the commission, Surahata Janneh as to how and when he started his business operations in Gambia, and relations with fellow business moguls, Amadou Samba, a local business tycoon, Muhammed Bazzi of Euro Africa Group.
Mr. Ghatta, who had earlier testified two weeks back, was recalled to bring certain important business documents. He re- appeared with his lawyer; Sheriff Marie Tambedou who later crossed examined him at the end of his marathon testimony.
Ghattas contract documents between APAM and China holding for building of dredges in Sanyang and related areas were tendered to the Commission and marked as exhibits.
According to Ghattas, the contract was over $8,000,000 and APAM made a payment of $290,000 in respect of the dredges.
Mr. Ghattas was asked by the Commission Chairman, Surahata Janneh regarding his business operations and stay in Gambia. In response, Mr. Ghattas said he came to Gambia for investments opportunities 17 years ago adding that he came with less than $50,000 as a business start up.
The former president after terminating the contract of Carnegie Minerals, he handed over it to APAM were Mr. Ghattas manage.
Meanwhile, Mr. Karamo Jawara, Principal Banking Officer at Central Bank of the Gambia also continued his testimony with more revelations on how monies were withdrawn from the central bank on the instructions of former President Jammeh.
“On May 19, 2015, the sum of $500,000 was received by Sanna Jarju under the authority of Yahya Jammeh who was the sole signatory to the said account, he said.
He told the commission that on June 1st, 2015 the sum of $129,600 was paid to SOVGE Co Ltd, a bank in China which was signed by the former President Jammeh while on the 3 and 4 June 2015, another sum of $300,000 was paid to Sanna Jarju. Mr. Jawara further revealed that on June 10th 2015, $54, 600 was signed by Jammeh for the payment of 20 Doctors and Nurses which was received by Sanna Jarju.
He disclosed that another payment of $215,000 and $400,000 respectively was authorized by Jammeh and paid to Sanna Jarju, former chief of protocol, office of the president.