Africa-Press – Gambia. Borehole driller Yaya Sanneh, from Darussalam Construction and a resident of Soma Tuesday 28th November admitted before the ongoing Local Government Commission of Inquiry that he was overpaid for the Mina Village borehole project. The contract was given to him by Mansakonko Area Council (MKAC).
The witness told the commission that the project was worth D475,000, which he said was paid in three installments: D285,000, D125,000 and D65,000 respectively, which added up to D475,000.
However, Counsel Patrick Gomez put it to the witness that the total payments made to him were D510,000 instead of the agreed D475,000.
“Your invoice was D475,000 but the amount paid to you was D510,000,” Counsel Gomez told the witness.
The witness said the extra amount paid on top of the agreed contractual sum did not have anything to do with the contract.
He testified that the D10,000 was for the cleansing exercise. Counsel Gomez said the overpayment was D35,000 and not D10,000. The Lawyer asked the witness to account for it by telling the Commission the details of those transactions. The witness said he could not remember.
Counsel Gomez pointed out that on 28 December 2020, the Council paid the witness D71,250 and on the same day the witness paid D10,000 Into the Council’s Trust Bank account and asked him what the money was for and the witness was silent.
“Mr. Sanneh, we are waiting for you. Why did you pay D10,000in the Councils’ Trust Bank account on the same day you were paid D71,250,” Counsel Gomez told the witness and he was still silent.
Counsel Gomez told the witness that the overpayment was D35,000. He asked the witness to explain why he was overpaid.
“Definitely, the deposit is in my name but I cannot remember the purpose of the deposit,” the witness replied.
The originals of the two invoices were tendered and admitted in evidence and he also provided carbon copies of invoice 0024 and 0025 dated 25 September 2020, which were tendered and later admitted as evidence.
Sanneh testified that the two invoices were the same and that Invoice Number 0025 is a continuation of Invoice Number 0024.
At that point Chairperson Jainaba Bah interjected and told the witness the two invoices are not the same because “it did not add up”.
Chairperson Bah added that the total value of Invoice 0024 was D424,471 and that of Invoice 0025 was D475,000, the witness denied and insisted that the two invoices were one and the same, adding that the second one was a continuation of the first invoice.
The witness was asked to do the calculations on each of the Invoices to test the veracity of his statement, after the calculation, the witness admitted that the values on the two invoices were not the same.
Chairperson Bah asked the witness to explain the differences between Invoice 0024 and Invoice 0025 but he insisted that the invoices were the same.
Counsel Patrick Gomez showed the witness a chequewithdrawal of D10,000 dated 29 September 2020 and he responded that “This cheque might not be related to the contract. It could be the regional youth committee work. I work for the Regional Youth Committee. We requested funding for our cleansing exercise and the Council gave us the cheque”.
The witness said the youth group is called Eco Friends Gambia with a membership of 60 persons and that he is the Chairperson of the group.
On 30 December 2020, the witness made a withdrawal of Twenty-Five Thousand Dalasi. He was shown the account and he confirmed it. He said he could not remember what it was for.
Chairperson Jainaba Bah also told the witness that the records showed that he received cash payments from the council amounting to over D175,000.
“I cannot remember that,” the witness replied.
Counsel Gomez asked the witness to provide evidence to show that the payment was for the cleansing exercise. The witness said he would look out for the request from the Regional Youth Committee and then provide the Commission with it. Counsel Gomez asked for the D25,000 overpayment.
“I cannot remember where it was spent,” the witness answered and Counsel Gomez told him that “You cannot sit here and say you cannot recall”.
Counsel Gomez asked the witness again why he deposited D10,000 in the account of the Mansakonko Area Council. The witness restated his answer that he could not remember the reason he made the deposit.
“For now, I am not sure I have answers for the D10,000deposit,” the witness said.
He was asked to list the names of the executive members of the regional youth group and the witness gave some names. He testified that the youth group has a bank account.