A former energy director has explained how the Gambia’s ousted leader threatened to kill him. Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the West African nation for 22 years with iron fist, has left behind a country in tatters, with tears dripping on cheeks of victims families desperately waiting for the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission to kick-off.
Some victims have already gone public with their horrible encounter with the exiled dictator. Yahya Jammeh’s killing story has surfaced in the Janneh commission that has been probing into the former leader’s financial dealings.
Alhagie Conteh, the former director of the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) told the Janneh Commission that Jammeh threatened him with death. This followed Conteh’s protest to clean his tainted image. After his refusal to endorse Jammeh’s orders to enter into contract with Muhammed Bazzi (Lebanese businessman close to corridors of power) for the importation of generators, Mr. Conteh was invited to State House for a meeting that involved former Secretary General Julia Joiner, NAWEC Board Chairman Amigo Jeng, NIA Director and Operations Director Kebba Ceesay and Abdoulie Kujabi, respectively.
At the said meeting, Yahya Jammeh blamed the NIA Drectors for sleeping on the job to the extent of not uncovering Conteh’s planned corruption. Jammeh said through his sources abroad he was able to uncover Conteh’s fraud. He read an undisclosed letter accusing Conteh of writing a letter to the supplier of generators inflating prices for his personal gains. Julia you always defend this guy each time I wanted to fire him. Julia said she has nothing to say. then asked whether any of the attendees had anything to say. All of them said no except Conteh who did not allow his image to be tainted without a fight.
Conteh told Jammeh that the content of the letter in question “is not my thinking, let alone doing it.” Alhagie Conteh asked the Secretary General to make copies of his (Conteh’s) previous correspondences so attendees could analyse them against Jammeh’s letter to establish the truth. “I told the President copy the letter he was reading and compare it to mine. I will take responsibility if anyone says the letter’s content or signature is similar to mine,” Mr. Conteh said, striking the ego of Jammeh who burst out telling Mrs. Joiner that Conteh was lucky the transition otherwise “I would arrange him to be killed; he is a very bad person.”
Jammeh dismissed the meeting because he would not go through “this nonsense and stupid experiment.” But Conteh insisted they the experiment to go ahead. “I told him to do anything to me if I were found wanting.”
Few days later, Alagie was detained at the NIA where he kept asking about Jammeh’s letter but to avail. Conteh was fired and replaced with a man who awarded Mohammed Bazzi $15.8 million contract. Bazzi ordered second hand generators that were sent to Germany for overhauling. Conteh said Jammeh used to listen to us until Bazzi came. “Bazzi showed Jammeh how to steal.”