By Dawda Faye
Fa Ceesay, the Alkalo of Mandinary, today told the Janneh Commission that soldiers threatened to shoot him to death when he was arrested by them.
He was testifying in connection to Gam Petroleum storage facility at Mandinary. He said he became the alkalo since 2008, noting that before 2008, his father’s brother was the alkalo, and that he knew Gam Petroleum storage facility.
Mr. Ceesay told the commission that Gam Petroleum had their storage facility at Mandinary since 2004 but the laying of the foundation was in 2005 by the former president, further stating that the former president also laid a foundation for a flour factory on the other side.
He adduced that instead, they imported raw materials but there was no structure on it, and that it was fenced. He further told the commission that Edrisa Jobe told him that he was a consultant to look for a better place for a storage facility.
He said that the land in question was bigger than Bond Road and the area was allocated to the former government but not to an individual. He stated that there was a meeting which was attended by Edrisa Jobe, himself, Eric Tunde Janneh and Mr. Manha and others. He disclosed that Eric Tunde Janneh at the time was the chief.
Mr. Ceesay testified that Eric Tunde Janneh told them that the land should be allocated to the former government or they would face the wrath of the former president, noting that he was arrested. He said he had series of problems, and that Eric Tunde Janneh had warned him.
He adduced that he decided to keep silent, adding that he didn’t know whether those who attended the meeting were from the ministry, stating that at the meeting, empty promises were made.
According to him, when the place was cleared, he received a call that the former government was going to give kola nuts to the people of Mandinary for the measurement of the land, stating that Kairo Company finalised the consultancy work.
Mr. Ceesay further narrated that family members came together and a sum of D1,000,000 was given to them. He disclosed that they asked if the money was going to be an annual gesture, noting that Eric Tunde Janneh told him that the money was meant for the owners of the land.
He said that they received D500,000 and the other D500,000 was given to the contractors, further stating that the land was allocated to the former government to bring oil to The Gambia.
He told the commission that they met Muhammed Bazzi and Mr. Manha at Mandinary, noting that they told them that they had huge money with NAWEC and that they would start the construction.
Mr. Ceesay further stated that according to Sanna Sabally, he, Sanna Sabally, had a call from someone who used his (the witness’ name) and insulted them. He said he met Sanna Sabally and the others, who arrested him and took him to the Court Martial, adding that they hit him and he fell down.
He told the commission that because of his past experience, he took Eric Tunde Janneh’s warning seriously.
At this juncture, a letter written by the witness to the Minister of the Interior, his statement and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.
He stated that he was not aware of the granting of the lease to Gam Petroleum , noting that they gave the land to the former government for national interest. He said that they did not know that those with whom they attended the meeting were not working for the former government, but Edrisa Jobe told them that he was working for the former government.
At this juncture, he was asked why he went to Mr. Bazzi in 2011. In response, he told the commission that the verbal agreement they made with Gam Petroleum was not fulfilled. He said that it was Edrisa Jobe who took them to Mr. Bazzi, who told them that they had money for the said land.
Earlier, Kebba Ceesay, director of Lands and Survey, reappeared on the same subject matter. He said he served as the director of Lands and Survey for about 6 months, from the 17thDecember, 2017, further stating that before he was in the public service, he was director of Physical Planning in October, 2008, and that he was terminated in October, 2008.
At this juncture, he was reminded that he was supposed to produce the Gam Petroleum file for storage facility at Mandinary, and he confirmed that he had brought it along. He said that the land was allocated to Gam Petroleum which was approved and was signed by Mr. Amadou Samba, further noting that there was no indication to show who previously owned the land.
Mr. Kebba Ceesay said that the land was allocated by the ministry, and that every piece of land has a traditional landlord.
At this juncture, documents relating to Gam Petroleum and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Mr. Ceeay finally told the commission that the size of the said land is 9.0 hectares. Sittings continue.