Photos: Chief Jarjusey & Kaddy Camara
by Ousman A. Marong
Kaddy Camara, a widow, who is also the first woman to testify at the ongoing proceedings of the Gambia’s maiden Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), Monday revealed that she and her co-wives (Namanding Jarjusey and Jarra Camara both of whom have died) gave D14,000 bribe to Yaya Jarjusey, Chief of Jarra West, inorder to avoid having their shops closed by the Mansakonko Area Council.
The widow made this revelation while testifying at the TRRC proceedings at the Dunes Hotel in Kololi.
According to her, the said shops belong to her late husband Alhagie Mamadi Sabally, in-law of Saihou Sabally, former vice president of the Gambia under the Sir Dawda Jawara regime.
She said it was Saihou Sabally who built compounds for her late husband in Jarra Soma and each of these compunds had shops.
Narrating their ordeal with Chief Yaya Jarjusey, the widow Kaddy Camara recalled that Chief Jarjusey gave them a notice that the Mansakonko Area Council wanted to close their shops and he further suggested to them to bribe the area council so that they can change their decision.
“Yaya Jarjusey told us that if the government wants to take our property, we have to bribe them, and we took some money from all the five shops we had. We took D3000 from each of the 4 shops and the fifth shop which was a local restaurant gave 2000 and we gave the total amount of money to Chief Yaya jarjusey for onward delivery to the area council, as he suggested,” she revealed.
She said after that ordeal, they never made any enquiries from the area council and after 6 months, Chief Yaya Jarjusey sent a messenger to deliver a notice to them, indicating that the area council have decided to close their shops without any reason.
She said Chief Jarjusey asked them to empty the shops and they closed them all.
According to her her, the Mansakonko Area Council sold the shops to Trust Bank Ltd and her family had no means of survival except farming.
She said: “The Area Council sold our shops to Trust Bank, and we were asked to detach our corrugated iron sheets over the house, and we did that.”
She disclosed that the Trust Bank in Jarra Soma is currently built where her late husband’s shop was located.
She also informed the commission that during this period, Alhagie Momodou Sowe was the Chief Executive Officer of the Mansakonko Area Council and Wally Sanneh was the Chairman.