By Nkumba Sillah
July 30, 2021
July 30, 2021
A startling revelation was made by The Fatu Network in August 2018 that a sum of $752, 594.42 was deposited into a bank account belonging to the Fatoumata Bah Barrow Foundation (FABB) by TBEA Co. Ltd, a Chinese manufacturer of power transformers and developer of transmission projects.
FABB is owned by the First Lady of The Gambia, Fatoumata Bah Barrow.
The local media went ahead to reveal that the said transaction took place on December 18, 2017, with the funds going into the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) account of FABB. On the same day the Foundation made a bank transfer of $746,211.13 to White Airways, a Portuguese charter airline headquartered in Porto Salvo Oeiras. The purpose of the transfer, according to the telex report, was to hire a flight to China where the money originated from.
It would be recalled that the acting CEO of the FABB, Fatou Ceesay, told The Fatou Network that, ‘Well, first we do not know how the money was transferred into our account, but we are investigating the matter at board level’.
This is to say if an alleged thief or fraudster vows to investigate him or herself of an alleged fraud, the outcome of such investigation is to simply sweep it under the carpet and remain mute about it. And that is precisely what has happened. After about three years the Foundation remains mute about an investigation that does not look ready to be concluded in the next hundred years. The police and government in general do not care because it involves the President´s wife.
It would also be recalled that in an interview with The Voice Newspaper at the laying of the foundation stone of the Greater Banjul Area Power Transmission and Distribution Modernisation Project worth $23million, Xian Zhi, Managing Director of TBEA Energy Company, dismissed claims that his company bribed the Gambian government to win the project.
On the 30th June 2021 a press release emerged from Amie Bojang-Sissoho, the Director of Press & Public Relations at the Office of the President, that FABB has signed an MOU with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) for collaboration in the fields of education, health and access to water in The Gambia. This happened during her visit to Saudi with the president. Indeed, these are laudable needs.
The question is: who accounts for these funds, since they were never made public as to how much has been received from donors and how it will be spent?
It is clearly obvious that FABB is a self-serving foundation using state privilege and the name of poor people to its advantage.