EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: Edrissa Jobe, a man who identified himself as the one who discovered the Mandinari fuel depot, Tuesday appeared before the Commission of Inquiry to answer questions relating to the land currently being occupied by Gam-petroleum as fuel depot.
Mr. Jobe told the Commission that he worked at Gambia’s Medical Research Department from 1983 to 1989 and later joined Shell Marketing Company in 1989 as technical adviser when the oil company was the only primary supplier in the Gambia.
President Adama Barrow established the four-member Commission of Inquiry in July, last year with an initial three-month mandate to act on the financial activities of public bodies, enterprises and offices as regards to their dealings with the country’s former President, Yahya Jammeh.
Mr. Jobe said in 1994, he was involved in depot activities when he went to Mandinari and discovered that the place was best for a depot. He said before then, there was a place discovered in Banjul but was located in a salty area and in his knowledge, a depot cannot be built in a coastal view. “So we identified Mandinari as the best place. I tried to get fund to build the depot but I was not lucky. I even tried Amadou Samba but still it didn’t work,” he said.
Gam-Petroleum Company currently has a modern storage facility at the Mandinari Fuel Storage Depot which was inaugurated in May, 2008 by Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh built at a cost of €32 million (US $50 million). Equity for the project was split between Gam-Petroleum’s holding group, Total International, which will be the exclusive supplier of petroleum products for the new terminal, and partly from Gambian and European banks.
“I was maintained by Amadou Samba because of my technical knowledge and the good relationship I had with the villagers. I was not paid because Amadou was like a brother to me. I was not in the village to negotiate the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).”
Mr. Jobe further told the Commission that he was not involved in the valuing of the land but he knew there was negotiations because the villager’s said they were going to lease the land instead of selling it. “I accompanied Amadou Samba to give some money to the villagers but I was not aware of their agreement but there was a newspaper publication that 1million dalasi was given to the villagers.”