EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: Gambian business tycoon Amadou Samba on Thursday re-appeared before the Janneh Commission set up by the country’s president to look into the financial activities of former President Jammeh and his close associates. Answering questions relating to his engagement with the Daily Observer Company, Samba said he was been widely considered to be the proprietor of the company but clarified that this wasn’t correct.
“It has been an error because many thought that I’m the proprietor of Daily Observer whilst I’m not. 20yrs ago, i was approached by the late Kenneth Thomas about the buying of the Daily Observer. After negotiations, I was asked to pay an amount of two hundred and sixty-eight thousand dollars. Mr Thomas then contacted Kenneth Best who had a thousand shares of Daily Observer and his wife and daughter were also shareholders and were out of the country. When he was contacted he agreed and sent me the shares transfer’’.
Asked by counsel Bensouda about his relationship with the late Baba jobe in relation to the Daily Observer, Samba said when Baba Jobe heard that he was about to take charge of the paper, he contacted him and expressed an interest in buying shares of the paper which he agreed on. “He asked me to give him Mr. Best’s details and I gave it to him, after that I don’t know anything else about that”, Samba explained.
He said Buba Baldeh who was once managing director of the paper made things possible Baba Jobe as he assisted him in finalizing the documents relating to shares. “Buba Baldeh was employed by Baba Jobe at that time. So he and Baba Jobe were the ones who prepared the documents and brought it to me to sign”. Further commenting, Samba said the transfer was done on 7th May, 1999 and was registered on 22nd October, 2002.
Asked whether there was any consideration, Samba confirmed that there was a consideration stated on the documents. And that Baba Jobe paid the money to Kenneth Best after reaching an agreement.
Further testifying Samba said due to his connection with the Daily Observer people started using his name as proprietor of the paper something he said distracted him a lot. “And this gave a lot of hazard because people used to call me complaining about stories pertaining to them. I consulted the management several times to remove my name as the proprietor but what they told me was they cannot do such due to some technical reasons. He said it was only when Momodou Sabally became the M.D that was the time it was removed. All the previous managing directors couldn’t do it’’.
When asked why the transfer was not done straight to Baba Jobe, he said it was because his negotiation with Mr. Best was already finalized. Counsel Amie Bensouda then applied to tender the evidence given by Mr. Samba as exhibit.