The director general of the Gambia Geological Department, Abdoulie M Cham has explained to the Janneh Commission of Inquiry how companies linked to ex-president Jammeh were mining minerals in the Gambia without following due process.
Testifying on Tuesday, Mr. Cham, summoned by the commission said Alhamadullahi Petroleum and Mining company ( APAM) has a total outstanding balance of D8,120,885 which is equivalent to $460,990 while the outstanding royalties fee including surface, training and institutional fees as of years 2013-2017 was D4,341,235.
Mr. Cham further revealed that GAMICO has paid royalty fees of D137, 407,338.48 between the years 2009-2014 which he said was paid to the account of the Central Bank while D20, 000 was paid by APAM for license fees.
“The total outstanding balance owed by APAM was D8, 120,885 which is equivalent to $460, 990,” Mr. Cham said. He further said that, from 2009- 2014, the company was mining heavy minerals and some of the activities were not accounted by his department.
He explained that the role of his department is to monitor the activities of the mining companies after the license was issued to them adding ‘GAMICO was obliged to comply with the agreement’.
He said there was a time when the company shipped 150 containers of minerals out of the country. Cham also testified that they received a letter from the office of the President about the change of management at GAMICO.
According to him, following a change of management, shares were transferred and 50% of Muhammed Bazi’s was transferred to APAM and they later realized that GAMICO’s business registration and license were not renewed for years.
“GAMICO license was terminated and handed over to APAM base on a directive and there was nothing on paper for the transfer of 50% share from GAMICO to government and the operational staff we maintained were not maintain by GAMICO,” he told the commission.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Personnel Management Office (PMO), Pateh Jah was summoned in connection to scholarships awarded by the office of the former President, Yahya Jammeh from the Carnegie Mineral Account.
He said he cannot tell the Commission whether the scholarships from the office of the President were part of government scholarships as some of them were from institutions such as ministries of higher, basic and secondary education and Personnel management office respectively.
Mr. Jah also told the Commission that there are scholarships awarded by the Ministries of Basic and higher education which are mostly awarded to teachers but he did not know the criteria attached to those scholarships.
According to Mr. Jah, the Office of the then President awarded scholarship to eighteen students. Three are attending the University of The Gambia while the rest are abroad.
Sittings continue on Wednesday.