Govt official, judicial source: Muntaga Sallah is innocent

Former Permanent Secretary for Petroleum, Muntaga Sallah is not guilty of corruption and his recommendations over an agreement for an oil deal were ignored, an official and a judicial source said.

Sallah has been charged with at least 10 others with corruption and economic crimes charges after being accused by former President Yahya Jammeh of signing a contract of US$12 million with a Dubai-based firm.

Jammeh says the firm is non-existent but a research into the company, March Trading, shows that it exists.

We are in a new dispensation, where law and justice must and should guide our conduct. We have voted for not only a regime change but system change as well,” the source said.

“Many have been victims of the former regime. People have been wrongly charged and arraigned before the courts just to please Jammeh. The new regime should not be seen as an engine to continue that.”

Documents that were given to SMBC show that Mr. Sallah never took part in signing the agreement after the petroleum board chose March Trading over Transfigura and Adax/Oryx for the supply of petroleum products.

Sallah recommended that an independent firm, Mayer Brown be engaged to conduct a proper due diligence on March Trading and clearance to travel to Dubai to sign the agreement was granted by Jammeh’s office.

Sallah was already fired at the time of the travel, when the agreements were signed and when payments were made to MArch Trading.

Officials of the Jammeh regime had state prosecutors hold him liable for theft over the buying of some three computers.

“All the injustices perpetrated by Jammeh should be flushed into the toilet. For we want to see a Gambia free from the remains of Jammeism,” the judicial officer said.

“There is indeed an urgency for the fraud to be established in court to enable the government to immediately appoint international law firms with the capacity to recover the amount at hand. Such an appointment of the firm doesn’t necessarily have to involve cash but it can be done on an agreement and they are paid when the recovery is done based on the amount recovered.”

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