Gunjur businessman implicated in $35M Taiwan deal
The former regime of Yahya Jammeh was convinced to switch allegiance to Taiwan from China by Gunjur businessman, Alieu Conteh, in exchange for financial bailout, former Captain Ebou Jallow has revealed before the Janneh Commission. The commission has been set up to investigate the financial dealings of quondam president Yahya Jammeh from 1994-2016.
Ebou Jallow told the commission that he served as commander of the third marine battalion which is the predecessor to The Gambia Navy. He added that he also briefly served as commissioner for Western Region until redeployment to State House following appointment as spokesperson of then millitary junta led by Yahya Jammeh. Prodded how the junta came to be in possession of $35M, Ebou Jallow explained: “ We were introduced to Taiwan by Gambian-American businessman Alieu Conteh. I wouldn’t call him a businessman ,but an international con artist. At the time we needed funds and China was only giving us false promises. I was first formally introduced to Alieu Conteh by Yahya Jammeh. Then we met in Brussels with a Taiwanese Intelligence Operative Ju Ling. Ju Ling told me that Alieu Conteh was their man for a long time and they trusted him. I told them we were ready to switch allegiance in exchange for financial assistance. He said that was not a problem and we decided to plan a trip to Taiwan”. Ebou Jallow added that he met the Taiwanese Foreign Minister with Alieu Conteh who convinced him to reduce the asking price from $70M to $35M after a protracted negotiation involving phone consultations with Yahya Jammeh. After the agreement was made, Ebou Jallow said Jammeh insisted on up-front payment of $5M in cash which he transported to Banjul in multiple suitcases on a private plane with Alieu Conteh and presented it to Jammeh. He disclosed that some money was given to strangers who showed up with Alieu Conteh for supply of US Dollar counterfeiting machines. Ebou Jallow said he was “stunned” upon learning some of the money was going to be used for currency counterfeiting which Jammeh assured him would go well despite his concerns. He maintained that Jammeh told him Alieu Conteh was aware of the currency counterfeiting scheme. “ I confronted Alieu Conteh and he told me he trusted the guys and that they were waiting for a machine from an Iranian guy who used to work for Mossad in Israel”.
Ebou Jallow was quizzed on his role in the $3 million that was deposited in a Swiss bank account from the $35 million which the then Military Junta accused him of absconding with to the United States. Alieu Conteh is a Gunjur-born businessman who founded the Vodacom Congo telephone company in the late 90’s. He now spends most of his time in South Africa with his family.