Businessman Amadou Samba on Tuesday pulled the trigger on the Lead Counsel at the Janneh Commission Amie Bensouda, as Samba and his lawyer tried to tender a document linking Bensouda to the sale of the Kairaba Beach hotel, one of the hotels the former dictator Yahya Jammeh illegally sold while in power. Ms. Bensouda prepared the document that facilitated the sale of the five-star hotel. The transaction suggests that she was working with the dictator Yahya Jammeh to dispose the hotel, which was onetime owned by government. She was one of the lawyers working for the exiled dictator.
The Commission’s proceeding was brought to a complete standstill, as Bensouda and the other Commissioners couldn’t make sense as to what Samba’s team were trying to achieve by presenting such a document at the middle of the proceedings. It took them minutes before they could figure out the main gist of Samba’s bombshell.
Bensouda, is reportedly owing over six million dalasis (D6 million) in back taxes to the Gambian state under Jammeh’s rule. The Chairman of the Commission Suharata Janneh also owed over one million dalasis (D1 Million) in back taxes.
Ms. Bensouda embarked on a damage control by saying that the document being sought to be tendered by Samba and his team has no bearing or anything to do with the sale of the Kairaba Beach hotel. She wanted the witness and his counsel to stick to the issues being raised before the commission.
Mr. Samba wanted to proof a point that he was not the only person complicit in aiding the former dictator. As a witness, he has the right to present any document under the sun to help his case.
Mr. Samba’s revelations backed by documentary evidence, has put the integrity of the Commission’s lead counsel on the line. She lacks the moral authority to question witnesses such as Samba on issues relating to the sale of hotels owned by the government. She never denied preparing the said document for the sale of the Kairaba Beach hotel.
This is second time in a span of two months that Counsel Bensouda has been linked to working with the former dictator’s government. She was the retained lawyer for the Social Security, Housing and Finance Corporation. She prepared the loan agreement between the SSHFC and NAWEC, Gambia’s main power company. Pensioners funds were used to bailout NAWEC to secure two generator sets for its powerplant in Brikama.
There has been growing call for Ms. Bensouda to resign—given Samba’s disturbing revelations. There is no indication to suggest that she will resign anytime soon.
Both Lang Conteh, and Boto have testified that Mr. Samba took part in the sale of the Kairaba Hotel. Samba has denied signing any of the sale documents in regards to the said hotel.
Lawyer Mary Samba maintained that Counsel Bensouda should advise herself as to whether she would continue to serve in the commission because they have a lot of evidence linking Bensouda to some of the issues being discussed before the commission. The Commission Chairman was in defense of Bensouda. He refused to entertain the document linking Bensouda to the sale of the Kairaba Beach hotel.