Agric PS couldn’t Remember The Total Value of aids From Japanese Gov’t

By Dawda Faye

Assan Jallow, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture has told Janneh commission that he did not know the total value of aids the Japanese government sent to The Gambia.

Mrs. Bensouda asked him to provide to the commission the list of all the aids supplied, and was further asked how much was supplied to Kanilai Group International (KGI) and how much KGI paid to the Central Bank.

He recalled that the contract with KGI for the supply of the aid started in 2012 and they received four consignments; adding that the consignments with KGI were done without any agreement.

Mr. Jallow reappeared before the Janneh Commission to produce certain documents such as the Japanese grants.

According to him, some of the assistance rendered by the Japanese government was Japanese Food Aid, Japanese technical assistance among others. However, he was asked by Counsel Bensouda whether he had brought a list of all consignments of Japanese aids. He responded that he did not bring along the file and was not aware that it should have been submitted to the commission, but he had brought the financial statement.

Mr. Jallow, at this juncture, disclosed to the commission that the total deposit at the Central Bank was D212, 876,695.42.

Commissioner Bai Mass Saine yesterday told Essa Jallow, deputy commissioner general and head of Domestic Tax at The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), that his office surrendered their authority in terms of tax collection.

Mr. Saine made this remark when Mr. Jallow told the commission that he had no knowledge of the existence of Oratus, Global Voice and TELL companies.

However, Mr. Saine told him that it was not acceptable that he was not aware of the existence of the said companies.

Mr. Jallow was summoned in connection to Multimedia Gateway Incorporation (MGI) on the management of the International Gateway.

In his testimony, Mr. Jallow told the commission that they could not find the files of Global Voice Group, TELL and Oratus except that of MGI in their system. He said taxes are levied on companies based on the certificate issued to them; adding that he had the annual returns and summary of tax for MGI from 2014-2016.

According to him, with regard to Corporate Tax, MGI paid D749, 049.46 while on Value Added Tax (VAT) and PAYE was D4, 034,417. He said the total liability for MGI corporate tax was D9, 200,252.97. However, he said tax exemption can also be done legally if the president feels that it is in the interest of the state without going through GIEPA.

The tax authority officer further explained that the commissioner general has the power to ask any registered company to pay tax.

Bala Jassey chief executive officer of Mobicell Blue Ocean Wireless Company, also reappeared and was reminded by Mrs. Bensouda that he had submitted a folder to the investigators.

At this juncture, the said folder was shown to him and he went through it. He then confirmed that he submitted the said folder to the commission. However, the folder together with additional documents produced by his lawyer, Malick Mba’i, were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Mr. Jassey was reminded about the management service agreement, and he confirmed that he had it. He was further asked whether he had other management service agreements with MGI and Mobicell, which he confirmed.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked him whether the commission received the service offer, and he said they did not submit any service offer to MGI.

Telecom Expert Jassey disclosed that there was no specific document outlining the service offer, adding that he never set his eyes on the agreement between MGI and the government.

He further disclosed that they did some work at the office of the former president and he never introduced General Saul Badjie to the MGI representative. Adding that he visited Kanilai once when he accompanied the delegation to the said village, saying that he did not attend the meeting during which he was at the Sindola Hotel.

At this juncture, the witness was asked by Counsel Bensouda to produce his qualifications before the commission.

Sitting continues.

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