Edward Graham broke into tears during his testimony at the Janneh Commission while trying to defend his running of the social security administration.
The Commission has found that several executives at the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation concerted with ex-President Yahya Jammeh to swindle pensioner’s fund.
Graham was fired by President Adama Barrow in March but the ex-managing director said he lifted the social security corporation from a financial crisis to a profitable institution.
Graham said he cannot be blamed for former President Yahya Jammeh’s swindling of finances from the corporation because the corporation guidelines give Jammeh powers to give executive directives, which have to be followed.
“I cannot be blamed for what happened at Social Security. It is the act that gives power for directives to be followed, so it is the act that fails and it should be amended if not we will continue following directives. When it comes to directives professionalism cannot be followed,” Graham said.
Perhaps due process was not followed, but Graham said the pension fund kept some government institutions, including the state-owned television network and the power company afloat.
The monies were given to them as loans but have not been repaid, he said. The institutions allegedly ignored repeated requests to have the loans repaid, saying they were given to them through directives from ex-President Jammeh.
Jammeh had used directives to take more than $35 million from the Social Security Administration, some of which were used in financing his general merchandise business and buy rams that he distributed during Muslim festivals.
The Justice Department said Jammeh stole at least $50 million from the state while fleeing to Equatorial Guinea and set up the Commission of Inquiry, in the first major anti-corruption move against the exiled leader.
Jammeh was voted out of office after 22 years in power in December. He initially accepted the election result but changed his mind and refused to leave office or the country.
Under intense pressure from other African presidents and a regional military force positioned on the Gambia’s borders with Senegal, he finally fled to Equatorial Guinea.