Former Secretary General and Presidential Affairs Minister Dr. Njogu Bah has informed the Janneh Commission that a cash amount of half a million dollars ($500,000) was withdrawn from Pensioners Funds at the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation to compensate the families of some Ghanaian nationals, whose loved ones were killed in 2005 by dictator Yahya Jammeh’s security agents. The Ghanaian sailors were mistaken as rebels, planning to overthrow Jammeh’s government. The money was handed to an emissary of the Ghanaian government by Mr. Bah in the presence of State House staffers in Banjul.
Njogu Bah recalled when Jammeh instructed him to make a request of one million dollars from the Social Security. Part of the money was supposed to be in dollar cash, while some in the form banker’s check (cheque) addressed to the government of Japan. He said money was loaned from the Social Security and was supposed to be paid by the Ministry of Finance.
“ I was instructed by the president to make a cash amount request of $500,000 from the Social Security, and the other was for banker’s check in favor of the government of Japan. The $500,000 dollars was a cash that was provided by the Social Security. When the funds came we informed the president at that time. There was a guest or there were guests of the president,” Bah said.
“And later, when we were informed that the funds were available; this person was sent to my office from the office of the president; through the Protocol office and to my office; and for this amount to be given to her. I don’t know her position with the Ghanaian government, but she was negotiating with the two governments. I don’t know who she is and as per what she does as work or as a living. But I knew that she was a guest to the president. I was introduced to her by the president. The chief of Protocol at the time was Alhagie Ousman Ceesay,” Bah added.
It would be recalled that when the news of the Ghanaian massacre hits the newsstand, dictator Jammeh was in denial. He absolved his government of any wrongdoing.
“Those funds were for the Ghanaian government. Later, I found out that it was about the Ghanaians, who died in the Gambia. The president deemed it important to provide some form of compensation to their families. And this was meant for that,” Mr. Bah told the Commission.
Mr. Bah said the emissary of the Ghanaian government signed a paperwork confirming receiving half a million dollars from him in the presence of Jammeh’s Chief of Protocol Alhagie Ousman Ceesay, and other State House staffers.
Mr. Bah said under Jammeh’s rule, the Social Security was Jammeh’s financial basket. He said the dictator had nearly rendered the public corporation bankrupt adding that it reached a point that the SSHFC accounts were in the red.
“ My heart bled for the Social Security. I sympathized with them. Jammeh thought that the SSHFC was never in short of cash. He always requested money from the SSHFC. I even asked the Directors of the SSHFC, if they could submit their bank accounts to me, so that I can it show it to Jammeh,” he added.
Mr. Bah also adduced in evidence about the millions of dalasi Jammeh loaned from the SSHFC pensioners funds to buy Tobaski ram for civil servants. The money was never paid.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai