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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 17 Aug 2017 : 10:38:57
Accountant General, bank managers appear before commission on Jammeh’s assets
By Dawda Faye
The Point: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The Gambia’s Accountant General Momodou Lamin Bah has appeared before the commission of inquiry into the assets and financial transactions of former President Yahya Jammeh, to explain his links to tax recovery accounts with some commercial banks in the country.
Mr Bah, who served as accountant general in March 2014, was summoned in relation to tax recovery accounts at Trust Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank, according to lead counsel in the commission Amie Bensouda.
Testifying on 14 August 2017, Mr Bah said he was not aware of the said accounts, but revealed that “the accounts are in the commercial banks”.
He further posited that his office obtained information from Trust Bank but Guaranty Trust Bank was “not cooperative”, as GTBank “did not share any information” with his office.
Mr Bah, who also said he is a finance expert, told the commission that by law, no government account should be opened without the knowledge of the Accountant General.
Having worked as a consultant at the Ministry of Finance, as he adduced, Mr Bah further stated that government accounts should be domiciled at the Central Bank. No government account should be opened without the approval of the Ministry of Finance on the recommendation of the Accountant General, he added.
At this juncture, the lead counsel informed Mr Bah, who said he lives in Brusubi, that the commission would issue him with a subpoena to come back and continue his testimony.
In his testimony, GTBank’s Managing Director Bolaji Ayodele, who has before this day appeared and testified at the commission, said he had dalasi and dollar transfers of Alhamdulilai Petroleum Mineral Company Ltd he was asked to bring along.
The lead counsel then applied to tender the documents, which the commission accepted, and the said withdrawal documents were tendered and admitted.
Mr Ayodele stated that there were 43 withdrawals from the dalasi account from 2 November 2015 to 9 December 2016.
He said the foreign currency transfers were not in order, adding that the CFA transfers from dalasi was equivalent to D212,864,967.
He posited that $64,800, which was equivalent to D4,566,049.08, was transferred, adding that 19,863.25 Euros, which was equivalent to D1,067, 716.02, was also transferred.
He adduced further that foreign transfers out of the bank were as follows: on 19 July 2016, $8,230, on 29 July 2016, $60,000 from Alhamdulilai Petroleum Mineral Company Ltd to Gamcel, on 4 August 2016, $6,000 was withdrawn by Toni Ghattas, 10 August 2016, £33,000 was transferred; on 19 August 2016, $30,000 was also withdrawn, on 29 August 2016, $40,230 was withdrawn by Toni Ghattas, on 19 September 2016, there was a purchase of $20,000, on 11 March 2016, the equivalent to CFA transfer was D122,315,000 to Senegal, on 17 March 2016, CFA63,465,480 was also transferred to Senegal, on 4 March 2016, CFA 42,048,895 was transferred to Senegal, on 21 February 2017, $142,800 was converted.
Mr Ayodele further stated that an amount of $31,250, which was equivalent to D1,339,062.50, was transferred to Ecobank The Gambia and that $1,800, which was equivalent to D77,670, was also transferred to the same bank.
He said there was a withdrawal of D600,000 on 22 October 2015, from Alhamdulilai Petroleum Mineral Company Ltd to Kanilai Family Farm.
He posited that on 12 January 2016, one Alpha Jallow withdrew D5,000,000, adding that his ID card was attached but the purpose for the withdrawal was not indicated.
At this juncture, the shipment bank statement of the said company was tendered and admitted by the commission.
Next to testify was Ebrima Salla, the managing director of Trust Bank.
He said he was appointed as MD on 1 July 2016, but prior to that, he was the head of Corporate Department at the bank, adding that he was the relationship manager for 9 years.
He told the commission that he had documents with different signitories.
He posited that tax recovery accounts were opened on 1 September 2013, and that Momodou Sabally, the former Secretary General and Head of Civil Service, and Nuha Touray, Secretary to Cabinet, were signitores to the said accounts.
A letter from the Ministry of Finance dated 21 August 2013, was tendered and admitted.
Mr Salla said there was a letter signed by Nuha Touray on behalf of Momodou Sabally.
Change of signitory documents and related papers in respect of account number 100-128385-01 Trust Bank was tendered and admitted in a bundle.
He further posited that D33,822,753.88 came into the said account, and that D29,225,793.77 went out of the account, adding that D4,596,960.11 was the balance of the account.
He said that a cheque for D200,000 was paid to Gai Enterprise and signed by Momodou Sabally and Nuha Touray, adding that another cheque for D1,947,346 was on 7 October 2016, issued to Sheriff Sawaneh, a customer of the bank.
Mr Salla adduced that there was an authority signed by Momodou Sabally and Nuha Touray for the payment of D1,396,740 to Ansumana Tamba.
Mr Salla was asked by one of the commissioners whether he wondered why the tax recovery account was opened by the office of the former president and not by the Ministry of Finance.
In response, he said it raised suspicion.
Sittings continue today.
Picture: Trust Bank MD Ebrima Salla and GTBank Bolaji Ayodele
|15 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 22 Jun 2018 : 11:14:47
‘NAWEC was never a party to the agreements’
The Point: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Baba Fatajo, the managing director of NAWEC, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that the company was never a party to the agreements made by the office of the former president and the Ministry of Finance.
Baba Fatajo and Amat Cham, the finance director of NAWEC, reappeared before the commission on matters relating to NAWEC’s MoU and contracts.
Testifying before the commission , Fatajo indicated that the government has started paying the liabilities, loans and bonds of the company as part of the 75% contribution towards the settlement of the company’s debts.
According to him, though NAWEC was not part of the instructions given to SSHFC, rather it was an instruction from the Ministry of Finance and the government for the loan given to the company.
Mr. Fatajo recalled that SSHFC has even filed a legal suit against NAWEC for the loans given to the company but the case was dismissed by the court on the grounds that NAWEC was not part of the agreement.
However, he acknowledged that NAWEC has also owed Global Trading Group a lot of money with regard to the contracts signed between them and GTG.
Mr. Fatajo, who reappeared along with his finance director, Amat Cham, further testified that there was reconciliation for the bonds between NAWEC and the commercial banks as well as the debt owed to GTG.
According to him, NAWEC has now hired a service contractor to restructure the company in order to make it more viable for investment, noting that the idea would enable them to have separate utility company for the supply of energy and water in the country.
Mr. Fatajo blamed the former government for its interference in the affairs of the company which he said had affected the company for the past years.
He testified that Annex two has given the liabilities of NAWEC, stating that the loans that are related to investment in the Greater Banjul Area are in their books. He further stated that the rural electrification and water sewage project loans were taken over by the Ministry of Finance.
He told the commission that NAWEC has a loan of D2.09 billion and that a sum of D7.3 billion was taken over by the government, stating that they are still working out modalities and government is paying the liabilities of NAWEC.
Further testifying, he adduced that the sum of D239, 000,000 which was ITFC loan was paid by SSHFC under the directives of either the office of the former president or Ministry of Finance, adding that ITFC has extended facility loans to the government.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to Mr. Cham that according to the MoU, NAWEC owes D235,000, 000. In response, he confirmed the sum and said it was owed to SSHFC.
Counsel Bensouda put it to Mr. Cham again that the commission did not have a reconciliation between NAWEC and GTG. He answered that in their records, it was captured as the government of The Gambia and not as SSHFC because the government authorised SSHFC to pay loans owed by NAWEC.
He further testified that there was a sum of $50,000,000 reconciliation between NAWEC and GTG for heavy fuel which was paid by SSHFC.
Documents relating to NAWEC’s contracts were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Hearings continue on Monday.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 21 Jun 2018 : 09:50:00
At The ‘Janneh’ Commission: ‘NAWEC Was Operating In Terror’ M B Jallow
Foroyaa: June 20, 2018
By Mamadou Dem
Momodou B. Jallow, former Managing Director of NAWEC, yesterday told the ‘Janneh’ Commission that the Energy Company was operating in terror, under the former regime.
Jallow reappeared to shed more light on the testimony of Fadia Mazegi, the Managing Director of Euro Africa Group, concerning the Fajara Booster Station, among other related issues.
According to Jallow, the said place was renovated by Bazzi and his people who told him, that he was going to store some equipment for the former president’s Royal Apartments project, which he wanted to build near Palma Rima Hotel; but that NAWEC did not sign any contract concerning the renovation.
He said he wanted to relocate NAWEC technicians from Half Die in Banjul, to the Booster Station because the building at Half Die was dilapidated and the sewage was not in order.
Prior to these testimonies, Jallow was told by Counsel Bensouda, that he was summoned to shed light on Fadia Mazegi’s testimony on the Booster Station among others.
Reacting to Mazegi’s testimony, Jallow said Magezi’s this was not true because their management contract gave them (taskforce) absolute power over NAWEC.
According to Jallow, when Muhammed Bazzi approached him for the Booster Station, he (Jallow) decided to call the Chief of Protocol Alagie Ousman Ceesay, who later confirmed to him that the former president was aware of Bazzi’s intention; that one Nabil Bazzi also told him that they wanted to have the place and that they renovated it; that he was not expected to sign the contract because it was a minor renovation. Jallow said he was then relieved of his post prior to concluding the renovation.
However, it was put to him that Mazegi had told the Commission that the taskforce was not in charge of the management of NAWEC. In response, Jallow said Mazegi was adding insult to injury, after all what had happened to NAWEC; that he could not understand why Mazegi should say something like that, and should withdraw the statement.
According to him, Bazzi and his group were in charge of NAWEC; that when it comes to NAWEC, it was Bazzi and the former president; that Bazzi was working with a brutal dictator, and when he (Bazzi) was around, he would receive invoices; that Bazzi was aggressive and that they were trying to salvage the Company by keeping it going.
The former NAWEC MD adduced that Nabil Bazzi was the logistic and procurement officer and they were paying the taskforce €50,000 per month, stating that they were operating in terror; Nabil Bazzi was engaged in projects, and would be with NAWEC and would also work with GTG.
Jallow testified that NAWEC used road tankers before they had storage tankers; that they used to pay $10,800 per day for the storage tankers; that a French guy in the taskforce was in charge of finance at NAWEC.
With regard to the Standard Chartered House meetings organized by Bazzi, he recollected that in one of the meetings, he had a problem with him when he raised the issue of the SSHFC generators.
He finally told the Commission that everybody was scared of the former president.
Earlier, Marie Saine-Firdaus, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, appeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission in connection to Carnegie Mining Company.
During her testimony, she told the Commission that she is working with the African Union as a Senior Legal Adviser responsible for human rights abuses; that she worked in the public service in May 2000, at the Attorney General Chambers.
She recollected that she was appointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda reminded her that Carnegie Mining Company took an arbitrary action against the former Government. She said when she became Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Company was operating; that she was summoned at the Attorney General Chambers and was informed that there was a directive to advise the former president on whether the Company had acquired a license but they realized that there were procedures to grant a license.
According to her, Carnegie Company was written to as to what they were going to mine, as well as the quantity; that Carnegie Company replied and there was a delegation that went to UK for a meeting and was part of that delegation with former Secretary General, Ousman Jammeh, who gave an update; that after the meeting, Carnegie Company said they were going to comply; that the former Secretary General, Ousman Jammeh, had a meeting with the former president along with Bazzi, who came with other investors at the meeting.
She added that it was after a meeting that the license of Carnegie Company was terminated at the level of the office of the former president, as she was informed. She testified that the former president told her Carnegie Company should be taken to Court; but that she responded to him that they should not sue the Company but investigate.
She said they could not have access to the site and the DPP advised them that they could file a suit against the Company, noting that the security were sent to the site to secure the place and the Managing Director of Carnegie Company was arrested but he later jumped bail.
The former justice minister revealed that they took an inventory but is not sure about what was left at the site; but that she was informed of some stockpiles but she did not know how many they were.
Further testifying, she told the Commission that after the termination of Carnegie mining licence, there was arbitration against the former Government; that when the processes were received, they went through them and advised the former president as a taskforce.
She disclosed that they made recommendation to the former president but they never received a reply from him; that the former president said she was not with him, noting that the former president was not happy with her and was instructed to work with two gentlemen who came from Paris.
Firdaus revealed that she was able to get someone who was knowledgeable in geology and gave his opinion on the technical side. She said she was removed from her post.
She further explained to the Commission that she did not know Bazzi’s role at the meeting held at the office of the former president; that Bazzi did not say anything at the meeting, further stating that they felt it prudent to settle the case out of Court.
According to her, Carnegie Company was out of stock and the CEO left; that the Company ceased operations. However, she said Bazzi told her to go through the contract because the investors were to start operation; that one Professor Strasser was the independent adviser to the former Government, and that the pressure was coming from the office of the former president because he felt that the process was too slow.
At this juncture, she was shown a copy of her statement which she confirmed. She stated that after they submitted the report, she was snubbed by the former president and felt that the former president did not have confidence in her.
She finally testified that the reason for the termination of Carnegie Mining licence, may be that the former Government was surcharged.
||Posted - 20 Jun 2018 : 14:34:46
At The ‘Janneh’ Commission NAWEC MD, Finance Director Reappear
Foroyaa: June 19, 2018
By Mamadou Dem
Amat Cham, the Finance Director of NAWEC, as well as the Managing Director of the Company, Baba Fatajo, yesterday Monday June 18th, reappeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission to continue testimony in connection to NAWEC’s contracts.
Cham confirmed the sum of D25,468,354.40 which he said was a summary of payments NAWEC made on the discount cheques.
At this juncture, Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda, applied for the said summary to be included in exhibit SC92A. This was granted by the Commission Chairman, Sourahata Janneh.
On the capacity charge, Cham disclosed that the sum of $41,609,163.01, was the total payment made by NAWEC, in respect to the IPP.
Documents relating to the 3% capacity charge and supporting invoices, were also tendered and admitted as exhibits. Cham said EURO Financing Gambia Limited, is also owned by Muhammed Bazzi along with Global Trading Group and Global Electrical Group; that he could not remember whether there was a free storage of fuel and transportation between GTG and NAWEC.
Commission Chairman Sourahata Janneh at this juncture, said the investigators would find out more about Euro Financing Gambia Limited.
Cham was ordered to provide the Commission with all payments from NAWEC to GTG, including payments made on their behalf by other institutions like SSHFC, starting from 2000 to date.
Next to testify was the Managing Director of NAWEC Mr. Baba Fatajo. He was required to produce some documents relating to NAWEC’s contracts. However, he told the Commission that he could not find one of them.
Documents relating to NAWEC’s projects such as the Kotu Ring Water Supply, Gunjur Water Supply and Brikama Phase 2 projects, were tendered as exhibits.
According to Fatajo, if Brikama Phase 2 is completed, it would be commissioned in 2019 and would add 20 megawatt to the current volume of electricity. On the Memorandum of Understanding between NAWEC and the Ministry of Finance, Fatajo said the essence was to clean up the books of NAWEC; that most of the liabilities are in the form of investment loans.
He further stated that NAWEC could not fulfil the payment of loans and held discussion to see how Government would assist by taking 75% liability of the Company; that the total liability of NAWEC is D9, 335,425,000.
Fatajo testified that ITS came about in respect of payments made by GTG; that reconciliation by GTG and NAWEC was over $64,000,000; that ITS does not only affect NAWEC but other institutions as well.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked whether they owed the sum of $29,000,000 for supplies received from GTG. In response, Fatajo confirmed the said sum was owed by NAWEC. He was asked to produce documents showing the reconciliation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) before the Commission.
Commissioner Saine suggested for him to appear with his Finance Director to enable the commission know better, as to what actually transpired; that without this, it would be difficult to establish whether there were any outstanding sums owed to Euro Africa Group by NAWEC.
Fatajo responded that he is not ‘au fait’ with some of the things that happened at NAWEC and would therefore appear with his Finance Director, but would also need time to familiarize himself with some of the things that happened when he was not the MD.
Sitting continues today
||Posted - 19 Jun 2018 : 13:43:56
Euro Financing Gambia Ltd to be investigated
The Point: Tuesday, June 19, 2018
The chairman of the Commission of Enquiry, Sourahata Janneh, yesterday told Amat Cham, finance director of NAWEC, that the investigators attached to the commission would find out more about Euro Financing Gambia Ltd. when he, Mr. Cham, told the commission that Muhammed Bazzi owns Euro Financing Gambia Ltd.
He reappeared before the Janneh Commission in connection to NAWEC’s contracts.
Mr. Cham confirmed the sum of D25,468,354.40 which he said was summary of payments NAWEC made on the discount cheques.
At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda applied for the said summary to be included in exhibit SC92A which was granted by the chairman of the commission, Sourahata Janneh.
On the capacity charge, he disclosed that the sum of $41,609,163.01 was the total payment made by NAWEC for capacity charge only in respect of the IPP.
Documents relating to the 3% capacity and supporting invoices were also tendered and admitted as exhibits. He said EURO Financing Gambia Ltd. is also owned by Muhammed Bazzi along with Global Trading Group and Global Electrical Group. He added that he could not remember whether there was a free storage of fuel and transportation between GTG and NAWEC.
Commission Chairman Sourahata Janneh, at this juncture, said the investigators would find out more about Euro Financing Gambia Ltd.
Mr. Cham is required to provide the commission with all payments from NAWEC to GTG, including payments made on their behalf by other institutions, such as SSHFC starting from 2000 to date.
Next to testify was the managing director of NAWEC, Baba Fatajo, who was required to produce some documents relating to NAWEC’s contracts. However, he told the commission that he could not find one of the documents.
Documents relating to NAWEC’s projects such as the Kotu Ring Water Supply, Gunjur Water Supply and Brikama Phase 2 were tendered in evidence.
According to him, if Brikama Phase 2 is completed, it would be commissioned in 2019 and would add 20 megawatt to the current volume of electricity. On the Memorandum of Understanding between NAWEC and the Ministry of Finance, he said the essence was to clean up the books of NAWEC; adding that most of the liabilities are in the form of investment loans.
He further stated that NAWEC could not fulfill the payment of loans and they held a discussion to see how the government would assist NAWEC, whereby it would take 75% liability of NAWEC. He disclosed that the total liability of NAWEC is D9, 335,425,000.
Mr. Fatajo testified that ITS came about in respect of payments made by GTG, further stating that reconciliation by GTG and NAWEC was over $64,000,000; adding that ITS does not only affect NAWEC but other institutions as well.
At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda asked him whether they owed the sum of $29, 000,000 for supplies they received from GTG. In response, he confirmed the said sum being owed by NAWEC. He was asked to produce documents showing the reconciliation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) before the commission.
Commissioner Saine suggested to him that he should appear with his finance director to enable the commission to know better as to what actually transpired, because without which, it would be difficult to establish whether there were any outstanding sums owed to Euro Africa Group by NAWEC.
Mr. Fatajo responded that he is not au fait with some of the things that happened at NAWEC and would therefore appear with his finance director, but would also need time to familiarise himself with some of the things that happened when he was not the MD.
Hearings continue today
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 14 Jun 2018 : 17:41:02
KGI, KFF owe NAWEC over D51 million
The Point:Thursday, June 14, 2018
Nani Juwara, deputy managing director of NAWEC, yesterday revealed to the Janneh Commission that Kanilai Group International (KGI) and Kanilai Family Farms (KFF) owe NAWEC the sum of D51,681,155.
He reappeared in connection to the electricity extension for KGI in various regions as well as the Aqua Company.
According to him, Momodou B. Jallow made it very clear to NAWEC officials that he was more of a ceremonial MD and that Mr. Bazzi was fully in charge of the company. He added that Bazzi even summoned meetings and informed them that he could fire them but that he was not going to do that because of brotherhood.
He confirmed to the commission that he attended two meetings at the Standard Chartered House, summoned by Mr. Bazzi; adding that the taskforce leader was sharing the same office as the managing director of NAWEC.
In terms of finance, he said the MD usually endorsed payments but in consultation with GEG taskforce team. He said the MD could not endorse for payments without consulting the taskforce members.
Mr. Juwara, on his last appearance, was asked to produce documents relating to Kanilai International Group as well as that of a sewage company in The Gambia (Aqua) which he did and disclosed that there were several electricity extensions for KGI in various regions.
He informed the commission that the total liability for KGI and Kanilai Family Farms (KFF) is D51, 681,155 while for Aqua, he said they recently received five month’s payment from them.
Testifying earlier, the managing director of Euro Africa Group, Mr. Fadia Mazegi, explained that his company is currently executing contracts for NAWEC at Kotu Power Station which is a power plant.
He said there is another contract at Brikama being financed by BADEA and OFID to the tune of about $19,000,000; adding that for the Kotu contract the value was $20, 750,000 with 783,000 megawatt.
According to him, the Brikama power plant was commissioned in 2009 and it was correct that they were applying $1,000,000 per megawatt and that it was also correct that they supplied fuel for the IPP.
Mr. Mazegi testified that the fuel they supplied for the IPP was the same price as the Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO).
At this juncture, it was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that there was no fuel supply to Kotu Power Station. In response, he told the commission that there were two companies, namely Euro Africa Group and GEG. He added that Global Trading Group signed a contract with NAWEC but the execution was done by GEG.
It was again put to him by counsel that the IPP belongs to his company and asked him why they were charging themselves for transmission and transportation of fuel. He said the total value of the capacity charge was to the tune of $64,212,287 while the sum of $10,824,000 was deferred on the capacity charge.
Therefore counsel told him that the fuel they supplied to the IPP should have been cheaper but Mazegi maintained that there were different companies. However, he clarified that there was no contract between Euro Africa Group and GTG but the armlet was between Euro Africa Group and GEG.
Mrs. Bensouda also put it to him that what was owed for the capacity charge was 20 months, starting from January 2010, to August, 2011, which was confirmed by the witness.
On the discount cheques, he reveled to the commission that the invoices were marked ‘discount.’ However, he was asked to list the banks they owe and the liabilities NAWEC took over from them.
The business tycoon further disclosed that they owe the banks $29,000,000. He was again asked to give a breakdown of the total they owe the banks, and he promised to provide it to the commission. He also confirmed providing NAWEC with reconditioned generators but could not remember the cost.
Mr. Mazegi stated that SSHFC paid the sum of $183,000,000 for the generators while the sum of €4.3 million was the cost of two generators also bought by SSHFC.
It was put to him by counsel that it was after the generators arrived in 2010 that NAWEC was compelled to sign an agreement with their company, despite the fact that they were reluctant to do so due to the nature of the generators, but Mr. Mazegi said as far as he knew, he did not experience any complaint from NAWEC regarding the alleged second-hand generators and mode of operations by their companies.
He then asked why NAWEC did not write to complain that the generators were scrapped ones; adding that he did not know the reason why the former managing directors of NAWEC were arrested.
However, it was put to him by counsel that NAWEC then did not have the audacity to complain because they might end up at Mile II or got sacked. She then asked the witness whether he was ever arrested by the former government. In response, he said: “I was never arrested.”
On the Gam-Power purchase agreement, it was put to him that it was different from the one signed between NAWEC and GTG. He responded that the taskforce never touch NAWEC’s account. Again it was put to him that there was a penalty charge for SSHFC by GEG but he said that the penalty clause was not applied.
Mr. Mazegi confirmed that they have been occupying NAWEC premises at Fajara Booster Station since 2009, which he said was part of the agreement during the extension of the Kotu project. He was quick to add that he could not remember the person who signed the agreement from NAWEC.
On the projects funded by Venezuela, he told the commission that GTG was accorded 11 lots while a Finisian company was given 4 lots. It was put to him that his bid was deflated due to the liabilities his companies owed but he denied it. He said the sum they tendered for the bid was $11,000,000.
At this juncture, he was shown a copy of his statement, which he confirmed. He disclosed that he was not sure whether Ahmed Hodrog was one of the GTG directors.
Documents relating to the HFO contracts and a copy of his statement as well as other relevant documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Mr. Mazegi finally testified that he was never Mr. Bazzi’s right hand neither did he enjoy executive protection while executing his duties in The Gambia.
Hearing continues on Monday
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 13 Jun 2018 : 14:34:19
EURO Africa Group show no financial records of how much generators were bought
The Point: Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Fadia Mazegi, managing director of EURO Africa Group, yesterday admitted before the Janneh Commission that there was no financial reports as Counsel Bensouda challenged him that they had no financial records to show how much they bought the generators.
“I would expect that you have financial records of this investment,” Bensouda took him to task.
He reappeared before the commission in connection to NAWEC contracts executed by his companies, i.e. Global Management System (GMS), Global Trading Group (GTG) and Global Electrical Group (GEG) amongst others.
Prior to his testimony, he was asked by Mrs. Bensouda to look at a letter from NAWEC dated 26th of September, 2002, as well as a letter written by Abdoulie Jobe to Mr. Bazzi which were all in connection to the Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) contract between Global Trading and NAWEC.
He went through the said letters and confirmed that they were from Global Trading Group. He added that what Shell Company was charging for HFO was more than what GTG was charging. He testified that the 17% charge was not part of the agreement.
However, Counsel Bensouda told him that the NAWEC tanks cost D2,000,000 and the purpose of GTG documents to NAWEC was not to show them the analysis and that they were supposed to compensate NAWEC for the delivery tanks for a period of 5 years, noting that the compensation was for free storage and transportation of fuel at the Mandinary depot for a period of 7 years, because the tanks at Half Die were not installed.
Mr. Mazegi informed the commission that they could not build the tanks because of poor soil quality and that was why they opted to give NAWEC free storage and transportation for the next project, but the failure to build the tanks was with NAWEC.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that the issue of the tanks was not captured in the agreement despite the fact that GTG was in control of NAWEC. In response, Mazegi said: “We were never managing NAWEC. This is a very wrong impression.”
It was further put to him by counsel that they were compensating NAWEC for what was past, and then asked him why the margin remained 17%. He responded that what they gave NAWEC was more than what they should have given the company.
The business tycoon further testified that the value of what they were offering did not reflect on their records; adding that NAWEC was in arrears of the payments and they had huge deficits. He said NAWEC obtained other options to get fuel, noting that they were under threat from the former executive.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda reminded him that a contract between Global Management System (GMS) and NAWEC took effect in 2007 and at that time, they had the responsibility for the management of NAWEC. She also told him that it was difficult to appreciate that NAWEC could not pay their arrears.
In response, he told the commission that they never managed NAWEC, further stating that they reduced the tariff when the price of fuel went up. He added that the taskforce was not involved in the signing of the contract in 2007, and that the role of the taskforce was to assist NAWEC with technical work.
Still testifying on the contract, he revealed to the commission that he did not negotiate for the renewal of the contract but it was extended with the same terms and conditions of the previous contract.
According to him, as at 2010, NAWEC started defaulting payments on both the HFO and IPP respectively, noting that this was because there was a reduction on their tariff, notwithstanding, they continued to supply NAWEC.
Mr. Mazegi adduced that the Global Electrical Group was operating the IPP, and that they bought used generators from China and spare parts from Europe. He said that the generators were reconditioned in China, further stating that he could not remember how much they bought the generators for.
On the capacity charge, he testified that it was a reflection cost made by the investor; adding that they signed a power purchase agreement with NAWEC. He said they were the only company that accepted to sign for the IPP contract without any guaranty from the former government.
Mr. Mazegi disclosed that on asset value, the cost of their investment was over $40,000,000.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that NAWEC staff were under duress on the agreement, and he replied that they were fair to NAWEC and that they did not impose anything on the company.
Mrs. Bensouda further asked him to provide the commission with calculations showing how he was able to get the capacity charge. “We would like you to provide the basis of your calculation on the capacity charge,” she insisted. In response, the witness said he did not have the evidence.
On whether GEG owns offices in The Gambia, he responded that they have an office at Brikama. He was further asked whether GEG kept records, and he said he would check. Further asked why they sheltered behind the office of the former president, and in response, he said they did not shelter behind the office of the former president, and that he did not know anything about heads rolling.
He confirmed that they brought their draft for NAWEC to sign. It was again put to him that the pricing was usually $1,000,000 per megawatt, and he stated that it was calculated because they were in a country where there was no political stability.
Mr. Mazegi was asked why his company did not insist on the guaranty from the former government and he responded that they did not insist. He further stated that they did not discuss the guaranty because it was not on the table.
Responding to Commissioner Abiosseh George, he told the commission that they could not leave the country despite the political instability because they had already invested in The Gambia.
At this juncture, commission chairman, Sourahata Janneh, reminded him that he said he holds an MBA and told him that as an MBA holder, before he got into these types of dealings, he needed to prepare a scheme. He responded that he could give the basis but not the amount involved in the investment.
He again asked the witness whether he made any profit during his stay in the country, but he answered that he never had any company but the dividend he had with other companies were profitable.
Mrs. Bensouda put it to him that the capacity charge remained constant. In response, he told the commission it was because of NAWEC’s breach for not paying; adding that the capacity charge was not constant.
He testified that because NAWEC had financial constraints, GTG deferred the capacity charge and it was the office of the former president that instructed NAWEC to stop the capacity charge.
On whether he had any relationship with the office of the former president, he stated that he never had any relationship with the office of the former president and that the question should be put to Mr. Bazzi.
It was again put to him that the office of the former president benefited from his company, and that there were directives from the office of the former president that NAWEC should sign contracts with his company. He responded that they were a reliable and a professional company, and they did the job well on the ground. He finally testified that the energy charge was not high and that there was a fixed charge.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 12 Jun 2018 : 13:58:18
NAWEC under pressure to sign bond with Bazzi
The Point: Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Ebrima Sanyang, former managing director of NAWEC, yesterday disclosed to the Janneh Commission that they were working under pressure when they signed a bond with Muhammed Bazzi, the proprietor of Global Trading Group.
He appeared in connection to NAWEC’s contracts and other related issues.
According to Mr. Sanyang, he is currently doing some consultancy as well as some installations for people who need his services. He confirmed that he was the managing director of NAWEC and had worked there for 23 years from January 1994 to 6th March, 2017.
He testified that in 2008, he was the transmission and distribution manager while in 2009 he was the manager for installations, and in 2010 he was appointed as deputy managing director, while on the 30th of October, 2011, he became the MD of the company.
Mr. Sanyang informed the commission that in 2011, they had both Kotu Power Station in place and the Power Plant at Brikama and among the generators he named were No 6,3, 9, 2 etc. He added that at the Brikama Power Plant, four sets were functional but the SSHFC generators were not functioning until 2013, noting that at the time, the Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) supply contract was with Global Trading Group (GTG).
He said the contract for Global Management System expired and was not renewed, further stating that the Rural Electrification Project was among the projects he found at the company. He confirmed to the commission that he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the 15th of July, 2012, for the extension of HFO contract, which contract expired in 2007.
According to him, the same terms and conditions were applied at the time of extending the said contract; adding that the 3% and 17% mark-up was to be observed in 2004 and 2007 contracts respectively.
Mr. Sanyang revealed that when the HFO contract expired in 2007, they wrote to the office of the former president informing them about the expiry of the contracts, due to the fact that the contract awarded was exclusive.
He further testified that there were efforts to get HFO from Mauritania, hence there was a bilateral relations to do that but were later told that Mauritania was not refining fuel. He said at a meeting, the issue of GNPC supplying NAWEC with fuel was raised. Therefore, GNPC should be given time to raise funds to enable them import fuel and it was because of that, they were asked to continue with the contract for GNPC to supply them with fuel.
The former NAWEC MD disclosed that the former Commissioner of Petroleum, Fafa Sanyang, and other personalities attended the meeting.
He said they later stopped the supply from GNPC because there were serious issues on specification. However, when asked who the minister was at the time, he said he could not remember. He said over the years, Euro Africa Group and Gam Petroleum were granted exclusivity for the importation of fuel.
According to him, immediately after the MOU expired, they went into an intensive engagement with GTG and the moment they were engaged on the MOU, they discussed on the price; adding that Mr. Bazzi was not present at the negotiation table. He said during the negotiation, it was difficult between the two parties but later the supplier (GTG) reduced the price from 17% to 10% as well as from $52 to $49.
Mr. Sanyang further told the commission that they did not extend the 2015 contract and that they went through a tender and GTG was among the bidders, noting that when they signed a contract with GNPC, among the terms and conditions, included transportation cost and storage among others.
He said when they started the contract, they wanted to bring the margin to 17% but NAWEC officials intimated to them that they could not sign such because the HFO contract had been going on for many years and the prices were fixed. He added that they had directives to reduce the price and that they negotiated with Mr. Fadia Mazegi.
The witness revealed that they also entered into a negotiation for the extension of the IPP and there was an MOU to that effect because there was original document with regard to the operation of the IPP. He said that was why they thought it was fitting to have an MOU in place.
Still testifying, he disclosed that while negotiating on the IPP, the issue of NAWEC settling its liabilities and to take over the power plant arose. He said the SSHFC generators were almost ready and the executive was informed that the matter had not been resolved and the executive promised to settle it.
He said they wrote to the office of the former president informing them that Global Electrical Group (GEG) was still insisting for the payment of the liabilities. However, he said they were invited at the office of the former president where they were told to take over the power plant by Momodou Sabally, former secretary general.
According to him, Mr. Bazzi was present at the meeting and was furious about what NAWEC was told; adding that the extension of the IPP power plant was part of the contract, and that once the IPP was over, NAWEC would take over.
He said when he was appointed as MD, what he found was the IPP power plant and there were instructions. He added that there was a capacity charge of $10,000,000 which was settled. He said the idea for the bond was to settle the liabilities and it came from the Ministry of Finance.
Mr. Sanyang indicated that once the bond was instituted, the liabilities were not paid and GEG wrote back and made their position clear regarding the two-year payment deferral on the capacity charge but NAWEC maintained their position, insisting that they could not pay the capacity without prior approval from the office of the former president.
He adduced that there was a meeting for the Ministry of Energy to find out whether there was a capacity charge to be paid, noting that the secretary general copied a letter to GEG regarding the capacity charge.
According to him, when he was confronted by the former minister of Energy, Sarja Sanneh, he (Sanyang) told him that all the procedures and processes of the bond were handled by the Ministry of Finance and he advised him to consult the ministry and further went on to notify the minister on the discussions he held with Mr. Sanneh.
With regard to the capacity charge, he said when he assumed as MD, he asked about the genesis of the capacity charge and further find out whether there were any correspondences to that effect but he could not find any.
He said nobody could substantiate the issue of the capacity charge, noting that the late Mr. Ndure would have been in a better position to explain about the capacity charge, and that the office of the former president wrote to NAWEC to issue post-dated discount cheque to the tune of D150,000,000. He said once the discount was done, they consulted the office of the former president.
Fadia Mazegi reappeared in connection to MYJ account, $612,000 paid from the AU Summit account and NAWEC’s contracts respectively.
Sittings continue today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 11 Jun 2018 : 14:05:34
Assets of 5 top Jammeh close allies frozen
The Point: Monday, June 11, 2018
The Commission of Inquiry investigating the financial dealings, assets amongst others of the Ex-President Yahya Jammeh, his family members and close associates have frozen the assets of Muhammed Lamin Gibba, Tarek Musa, Yankuba Badjie, Woreh Njie Ceesay and Feryale Ghanem (Laly Diab).
The order came in the wake of the evidence adduced before the said Commission chaired by Sourahata Janneh.
Muhammed Lamin Gibba, former managing director of: Aassets Management Recovery Corporation (AMRC), Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) and Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) respectively informed the Commission on the 8th May, 2018 that he is related to Ex-President Jammeh by virtue of marriage and he testified that the farms of Ex-President Jammeh in Dobong were given to the Ex-President by his father.
Evidence showed that honorarium for workers in the Ex-President’s farms in Dobong was financed by GPA on instructions of Muhammed Lamin Gibba for over five (5) years without adherence to due process.
Evidence further showed that between the period 2003 (or thereabout) to 2014, Muhammed Lamin Gibba while serving as managing director gave instructions for the release of public funds to the Office of the President or the ex-president personally from verbal instructions of the ex-president without adherence to due process.
On the part of Tarek Musa, a majority shareholder and director of TK Motors Gambia Ltd. and TK XPORT, Dubai UAE introduced Muhammed Bazzi (close associate) to Ex-President Jammeh, evidence showed that from 1996 to 2016, TK Motors Gambia Ltd. supplied the Office of the President, motor vehicles and spare parts on the directives of the ex-president without adherence to any public procurement rules.
Evidence further disclosed that substantial sums from government accounts at the Central Bank and other public resources have been paid to TK Motors Gambia Ltd. on the executive directives of the ex-president.
Evidence also showed that TK XPORT has been shown to have been responsible for the purchase of election paraphernalia for the APRC political party of the ex-president and also received funds from the office of the former president’s first lady, Zaineb Jammeh for the supplies to that office.
Evidence adduced also disclosed that Mobicell Blue Ocean Wireless Company Ltd. contracted over three million U.S. dollars to TK XPORT for farming equipment for the ex-president.
Yankuba Badjie, former director general of the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is closely connected to the Ex-President Jammeh and operated under his direction.
Woreh Njie Ceesay was appointed managing director of Kanilai Group Investment Company Ltd. by the Ex-President Jammeh in 2014. Woreh Njie Ceesay was receiving instructions and reporting to the ex-president through Gen. Sulayman Badjie (a close associate).
It was further adduced that from 2014, Worh Njie Ceesay managed the sale of Japanese Rice by KGI as sole agent for the Ministry of Agriculture under the government of Japan KR Rice grants project.
In 2016, Woreh Njie Ceesay was purportedly given 40% shares of KGI Company Ltd. by ex-president and Gen. Sulayman Badjie was purportedly given 60% shares.
Feryale Ghanem (Laly Diab) evidence adduced that she assisted in the incorporation of Kanilai Group Investment (KGI), signed as a witness in the incorporation documents, noting that she also managed Sindola Hotel in Kanilai and UTSC Bus Company on behalf of ex-president without renumeration.
The commission, however, declared that Muhammed Lamin Gibba, Tarek Musa, Yankuba Badjie, Woreh Njie Ceesay and Feryale Ghanem are restrained whether by themselves or their officers, servants, agents or any of them or otherwise from selling, assigning, mortgaging, charging or otherwise disposing of any of their moveable or immoveable assets whether directly or indirectly owned including land, shares, stocks, debentures or other interest in any of their companies or businesses in The Gambia or outside The Gambia pending further order of the commission or the outcome of the inquiry.
They were further restrained from removing from this jurisdiction any of their aforesaid assets or doing anything that may reduce the value of the said assets pending further orders.
The commission advised that members of the public are invited to provide any information they may have regarding the assets owned by these persons in or out of the country.
Author: Bruce Asemota and Micheal O. Davies
||Posted - 07 Jun 2018 : 14:12:11
Jammeh gov’t defaulted to pay loan on GRTS satellite, Sankulle kunda bridge: Finance PS
The Point: Thursday, June 07, 2018
Abdoulie Jallow, permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance, yesterday informed the Janneh Commission that the former government defaulted to pay a loan for GRTS satellite link and Sankullekunda Bridge contracts.
He reappeared in connection to GRTS loan on a satellite link as well as Sankulaykunda Bridge.
Prior to his testimony, he was told by Counsel Anna Njie that she understood that he was no longer with the ministry but Mr. Jallow responded that he is on leave.
According to him, in 2009, the Ministry of Finance received a letter from the office of the former president which instructed them to take a loan from Trust Bank which would not attract an interest, noting that the loan was guaranteed by Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC).
At this juncture, he was given a copy of the said letter from the office of the former president, which he confirmed. He said he did not know all the events that preceded the loans. However, he said he only got to know the two projects when they received the letter.
Mr. Jallow testified that he thought that the Ministry of Finance was not aware of the projects from the inception; adding that when they received the letter, they discussed it internally, and it was not the burden on GRTS but the former government.
He confirmed that SSHFC was to guarantee the loan, which was suggested by Trust Bank. However, Counsel Njie told him that a letter from SSHFC indicated that the directive was from the Ministry of Finance and not from the office of the former president.
PS Jallow responded that there was no obligation on SSHFC to accept the letter from the Ministry of Finance and could have even rejected it; adding that it was the responsibility of the former government to settle the loan to SSHFC which was supportive.
It was further put to him that the Sankullekunda Bridge project was personally handled by the former president. In response, he said he was not sure.
He adduced that they could not get the Ministry of Works to apply for the loan for the implementation of the Sankullekunda Bridge and that was why they decided to use GRTS to apply for the said loan.
However, he acknowledged that it was wrong to do that, hence the loan for the bridge had nothing to do with the national broadcaster. He added that he knew about the GRTS Satellite Link account at the Central Bank but he did not know that it was the ROC funds which were put in that account.
According to him, there had been so many bilateral issues over the years which had been settled while others are still pending.
He stated that Trust Bank had recovered the loan, and that the bank had debited SSHFC with $1.8 million. He said the former government was therefore obligated to pay SSHFC.
At this juncture, documents relating to the loans were tendered and admitted in evidence. Mr. Jallow further revealed to the commission that they were not working with GRTS but acted on the directive they received from the office of the former president, noting that $2.8 million was recovered from $4.6 million loan.
He testified that the project cost $12.6 million, and that the office of the former president was to settle the $4.6 million, further stating it was not the proper procedure to handle the loan.
With regard to GRTS loan, it was put to him by Ms. Njie that the then GRTS Finance director was reluctant to take the loan because the GRTS account was almost in red. In response, Mr. Jallow said he was not supposed to talk to GRTS Finance director, and that they did things internally at the level of the ministry.
Earlier testifying, Lamin Saidy, an IT expert and a businessman, was summoned in relation to a network contracts at Kanilai.
He testified that he was told by the former managing director of Gamtel, Babucarr Sanyang, that there were some investors who wanted to meet the former president at Kanilai.
Mr. Saidy recalled receiving a call from the office of the former president; adding that his relationship with the former secretary general, Njogu Bah, was cordial but that does not mean that he (Bah) recommended him for the former president’s office contract.
Mr. Saidy testified that he joined Balla Jassey and the Swiss investor at West Field to travel to the former president’s village where they found Njogu Bah. He said they had a meeting but he did not know who arranged the said meeting.
He adduced that he did not know why he was called to go to Kanilai, but it was put to him that he was the one who arranged the meeting which he denied. He said while at Kanilai, the Swiss guy spoke to the secretary general but he did not see the former president, noting that he did not know why the contract went through the office of the former president.
Mr. Saidy further testified that he did not know where the contract was prepared but he was called and the contract was given to him and there was no tender, adding that he did not know the purpose of the meeting. He confirmed that he heard about TELL Company, further stating that he had a call from Balla Jassey, who told him that the Swiss investor from MGI came with a proposal.
According to him, the reason why he was contacted by Balla Jassey after Mr. Jassey sent a letter to the office of the former president was that maybe Balla Jassey needed his help. He added that he had never worked with Balla Jassey but had met Njogu Bah.
Further testifying, he told the commission that he met the former president once and was asked to do the network at Kanilai but he told them he did not have the capacity, stating that he knew about Mobicell-Group and that it is owned by Balla Jassey. He said he did not have any dealing with the company, noting that he decided to suspend the services he rendered to the former government because they owed him.
Mr. Saidy explained that he was not present when the gateway contract was awarded to MGI and he had nothing to do with it but had confirmed that he was frequent at State House.
At this juncture, he was shown his own statement which he confirmed and the said statement was tendered and admitted as an exhibit.
According to him, his company did not benefit in any way in the management of the Gamtel gateway; adding that the contract he had with the former president was in 2014 and it was before the contract with MGI.
Sittings continue on Monday.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 06 Jun 2018 : 20:53:21
Bazzi supplied old generators to NAWEC
The Point: Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Abdoulie Jobe, former managing director of NAWEC, yesterday stated before the Janneh Commission that Muhammed Bazzi knew that the generators he supplied to NAWEC were not new ones.
He appeared before the commission in connection to NAWEC’s contracts.
Prior to his testimony, he gave a synopsis of his career in the public service, starting from the Gambia Utilities Corporation (GUC) in 1983. He told the commission that he is an engineer by profession but he is currently being employed by the Organisation for the Management of the River Gambia (OMVG).
According to Mr. Jobe, he became the managing director (MD) of NAWEC in 2004, and again from 2009-2010, he was appointed as MD of the same company; adding that he also became the MD of the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) from 2010-2014.
He further explained that in 1998-2004, he was the director of Water Supply and Sewage. He said in 2004, there was a contract between NAWEC and GTG, stating that they were developing numerous projects on water and electricity supply with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
According to him, GTG was responsible for the installation of generators and also built tankers at Half Die which was not done by GTG. However, he confirmed that the contract was signed in 2002 and there was 3% mark-up. He added that he was briefed by his predecessor about the contract.
He said at the end, a committee was formed to review the contract and saw what was accomplished by GTG; adding that his approach was to engage those who were involved in the contract but he was removed and his successor, Mr. Momodou B. Jallow, took over.
Mr. Jobe told the commission that he wrote to GTG asking them why the tanks were not installed, but before the completion of the process, he was fired.
At this juncture, commission’s counsel, Amie Bensdouda, told him that in a letter, GTG indicated that they could not build the tanks due to poor soil and opted to compensate NAWEC for the storage of fuel at the Mandinary depot at no cost.
He said he remembered taking the minutes of meeting for NAWEC to be compensated; adding that they engaged GTG but he did not know why they came up with the proposal of compensating NAWEC with free storage of fuel.
A copy of the agreement for the sale of fuel by GTG to NAWEC was shown to him and was told that the delivery was NAWEC’s tankers at the ports. In response, he said NAWEC had their own tankers which were not enough to be built at Kotu. He said GTG was allowed to provide additional tankers for the delivery of the product.
Still testifying, he disclosed that the building of the tankers was GTG’s proposal but before they finished reviewing it, he was removed from his position, noting that there was no connection between the capacity charge and the HO4, and that the capacity charge impacted the IPP with a 17% mark-up.
Mr. Jobe confirmed that he signed the IPP contract with GTG; adding that when he took over as MD in 2004, there was no IPP in place. He further testified that there were black outs and the Ministry of Energy and the office of the former president decided to take over the portfolio.
According to him, in early 2000, there was an acute supply of electricity for lack of investment in generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. He said they then decided to come up with something that was standard for the energy sector by engaging the private sector to participate in the sector.
During this period, he said the Electricity and PURA Acts respectively were regulated to encourage private sector participation. He said the policy and the Act were assented to by the former president and it became a law, noting that they developed guidelines to advise anybody who wanted to participate in the generation.
He said when he took over as the managing director, there was a project awarded to a French company (RMT) for the transmission as well as for NAWEC to run a network from Kotu to Brikama.
The former energy company director adduced that in 2005, there was a proposal that was submitted to NAWEC by GIEPZA and that they received a letter from the office of the former president to forward the proposal. He said that they were told that they had two days to complete the negotiation with GTG or heads would roll.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine asked him whether it was unique for the former president to tell NAWEC who to partner with, and he responded that he did not know. He further stated that based on experience and standards, they used the guidelines which they prepared.
Mr. Jobe informed the commission that NAWEC was under the office of the former president and they set up a management committee to prepare a standard guideline and they started the negotiation with GTG which was completed in 2005. He said GTG proposed a capacity charge of $33.3 per kilo watt and the duration of the contract was for 5 years.
According to him, they negotiated for two days but Mr. Bazzi did not agree; adding that they indicated in their report to the office of the former president that they could not come to terms with Mr. Bazzi on the capacity charge. A letter was read to him by commission’s counsel, saying that the excess charges by Mr. Bazzi and payments were all addressed.
He testified that they were to test the capacity charge as to whether the generators had the same capacity, and that if GTG did not meet the actual capacity due to them, there would be a penalty.
He further informed the commissioners that with the usage of IPP, you have what is called take or pay but Mr. Bazzi started with 90% but they later agreed on 85%.
At this juncture, Chairman Sourahata Janneh put it to him that the generators taken to the IPP were second-hand generators. He then asked him whether Mr. Bazzi pretended that the generators were new ones.
In response, Mr. Jobe told the commission that both the stakeholders and the supplier knew that the generators were not new ones.
According to him, GTG was conditioned to register a company in The Gambia to be governed by Gambian laws which was GEG, and Mr. Bazzi was expected to hand over the Memorandum of Article and Association to NAWEC as evidence. He added that when he came back in 2009, he tasked each of his directors, including the director of finance, to prepare a situation report from 2006-2009.
He finally testified that capacity charge payments from 2006-2009 by NAWEC to GEG were available.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 05 Jun 2018 : 15:22:44
Jammeh didn’t give reason for dismissals
The Point: Tuesday, June 05, 2018
Baba Fatajo, the managing director of NAWEC, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that the former government would never tell you the reason of your dismissal.
reappeared and continued to give evidence in connection to NAWEC’s contracts.
Prior to his testimony, he was asked by commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, to clarify whether it was correct that Global Trading Group (GTG) was occupying one of NAWEC’s properties. He responded that they have begun the process and they would finalise it next week.
He was again asked to bring along invoices on Kanilai Family Farms and Kanilai village respectively which were supposed to be produced by the deputy MD, Nani Juwara.
On Kotu Expansion project, he told the commission that it is a power generation project increasing capacity funded by OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). He added that GTG and DORSA were the contractors for this project, and that there was a tender process and they were awarded the contract.
According to him, at the time of the project, Mr. Ebrima Sanyang was the managing director and confirmed that the contract sum was $21,000,000 for 11 mega watt generator for the Kotu generation supply.
However, he said the commercial process for this project has not yet started because the contractor is still testing it; adding that it would go a long way in alleviating the current electricity problem.
Testifying on the Brikama extension project, he said it was supposed to be implemented in phases and was completed. He said they started the tendering process after receiving funding from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), noting that the mode of funding was the combination of funds and leased loans.
According to him, Global Trading Group was among those shortlisted but the Central Bank gave them a shorter list in which GTG was not shortlisted, further stating that there was a lot of pressure from the office of the former president, and that they were able to bid among the companies.
He told the commission that they went through the bidding and Whatsila Company was the winner, but there was a directive from the office of the former president that they would not allow Whatsila to do business in the country and the contract should be awarded to Hyundai Company.
Mr. Fatajo revealed that the former managing director, Ebrima Sanyang, was invited by the secretary general to a meeting at State House along with Muhammed Bazzi, indicating that they should engage Hyundai. He said they acknowledged the receipt of the directive but that they should get the consent of the bank after a copy of the directive was given to the bank, but the bank maintained their position.
He revealed that he was asked to go to the Personnel Management Office where he was issued with a dismissal letter; adding that had it been that the project was implemented in 2013, they would not have been in this predicament. He added that they did not know whether the bank would cancel the facility and that the directive was not copied to the Ministry of Finance which provided funding to NAWEC.
The managing director of the energy company disclosed that in 2016 the contract of the same project was awarded to a consortium of GTG and STX companies; adding that the engines had been shipped but they are yet to lay hands on them.
At this juncture, a folder containing documents relating to Kotu power project supply and other relevant documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Next to testify was the finance director of the company, Amat Cham, who was reminded that he was required to produce NAWEC’s audited financial reports.
According to him, the 2016 auditing for NAWEC just began yesterday by DT Associates, and the report is yet to be completed. He said that they have a limitation on their accounting software and the auditors are working on it.
At this juncture, the financial statements of 2010 and 2015 were produced by the witness and submitted to the commission, which were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Upon tendering the financial statements, it was observed by the commission’s chairman, Sourahata Janneh, that NAWEC is banking with 15 banks, including Prime Bank and asked him to give reasons. Mr. Cham responded that these banks are registered with the Central Bank and their account at Prime Bank is closed, and that the account was submitted for reference purposes.
He was again asked what NAWEC has done to reduce their liability, and he said the former government, through the Ministry of Finance, was going to settle the liabilities, hence there was a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). He was then asked by Commissioner Abiosseh George to provide the commission with the said MoU.
Mr. Cham further testified that as from July 2006 to August 2011, a sum of $41,789,568.01 was the capacity charge and it included the $10.8 million in the bond.
At this juncture, he was asked by Mrs. Bensouda to search for more invoices and hand them over to the managing director.
He stated that whether the generators were operated or not, the capacity charge should be paid and out of 61 invoices, 27 are missing. Invoices provided by the witness were also admitted in evidence.
On the 3% calculation for the water tanks at Half Die in Banjul, he said he did not have the invoices because it was in 2002.
Sitting continues today.
Author: Dawda Faye
||Posted - 01 Jun 2018 : 15:43:24
Jammeh close associate’s assets frozen
The Point: Friday, June 01, 2018
The Commission of Inquiry looking into the financial dealings, assets among others things of Ex-President Jammeh, his family members and close associates has frozen the assets of Ali Youssef Sharara, chairman and chief executive officer of Spectrum Holding Sal and Tell International Incorporation.
The order came in the wake of the evidence adduced before the commission that Ali Youssef Sharara and Ex-President Jammeh bedfellows in the purchase of Gamtel and Gamcel shares.
Ali Youssef Sharara is one of the shareholders of Spectrum International Investment Holding SAL, a company registered under the laws of Lebanon with its registered offices at Verdum, Rachid Karame Street Centre Verdum 732, 17th floor, Beirut, Lebanon.
That in 2007, Spectrum International Investment Holding Sal (Spectrum), purported to purchase 50% of the shares in Gambia Telecommunications Company Ltd. (Gamtel) and Gambia Cellular Company Ltd. (Gamcel) for thirty-five (35) million US dollars on the directives of Ex-President Jammeh. Ex-President Jammeh further directed that an account be opened at the Central Bank for the said money to be deposited.
The said sum of US$ 35 million was a gross undervalue because a valuation carried out by PKF Kenya in the same year stated the value of Gamtel to be between US $ 77.5 million and US $ 85.4 million with a midpoint of US$81.3 million and Gamcel to between US$69.4 million and US$ 75.7 million with a midpoint value of US$72.5 million, whilst the Central Bank statement of the account shows that Spectrum paid only US$ 32,437,008.00 for 50% shares of both companies.
Evidence further adduced before the commission disclosed that Spectrum managed Gamtel and Gamcel from August 2007 to the 5th November 2008 and through a company called Oratus Incorporated were exclusive managers of the International Telecommunications Gateway during this period the foregoing arrangements were terminated by the Ex-President after 13 months for the Gambia government to re-purchase the Gamtel/Gamcel shares.
Also evidence adduced also disclosed that in 2011, Mr. Ali Youseff Sharara as TELL International Inc was reappointed as the exclusive manager of the Internatuional Gateway under the directives of the ex-president to purportedly recoup their investment in the reversed purchase of Gamtel and Gamcel shares. Tell International Inc managed the International Gateway between the periods of April 8th, 2011 to May 2014.
Evidence also showed that Mohammed Ibrahim Bazzi, the commission witness number 63 informed the commission that the sum of US$500,000.00 paid by Euro African Group to the Dollar account of Ex-President Jammeh Foundation for peace and the equivalent in dalasis was paid to the ex-president’s personal account both at Trust Bank (Gambia) Ltd. from 2012 -2013 were made on behalf of Ali Youssef Sharara to meet demands made by Ex-President Jammeh.
Evidence adduced disclosed that Njogu Bah (witness number 20) also informed the commission that Ali Youssef Sharara also gave Ex-President Jammeh a brand new Range Rover Vehicle as a gift, presumably as a bribe.
Further evidence adduced before the commission disclosed that Lamin Camara, the former permanent secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication, Infrastructure informed the Commission that TELL International Inc. in addition to its fees amongst others things deducted US$2 million dollars from the monthly proceeds of the International Gateway every month ostensibly to recoup its investment on the purchase of the Gamtel/Gamcel shares, a deduction the commission remarked is unquestionable.
As a result of the foregoing evidence adduced before the Commission, it therefore ordered that Ali Youssef Sharara be restrained by himself or his officer servant agents or any of them or otherwise howsoever from selling, assigning, mortgaging, charging or otherwise disposing of any of the moveable or immoveable assets whether directly or indirectly owned including land, shares, stocks, debentures or other interest in any of their companies or businesses in The Gambia or outside The Gambia pending further order of the said Commission or the outcome of the inquiry; removing from the Gambia any of his ( Sharara’s) aforementioned assets or doing anything that may reduce the value of the said assets pending further orders of the commission.
The commission urged members of the public to provide any information they may have regarding the assets owned by Ali Youssef Sharara in and outside The Gambia.
Author: Bruce Asemota and Micheal O. Davies
||Posted - 31 May 2018 : 14:41:29
‘Inheriting Power Plant Facility From GTG Was Disastrous To NAWEC’ Baba Fatajo
Foroyaa: May 30, 2018
By Mamadou Dem
Mr. Baba Fatajo, the Managing Director of NAWEC, yesterday disclosed to the ‘Janneh’ Commission that NAWEC’s taking over of the power plant facility at Brikama from Global Trading Group (GTG), was a disaster to the energy Company.
Mr. Fatajo was summoned on various issues surrounding NAWEC but prior to his testimony, Counsel Bensouda applied to tender documents relating to NAWEC’s contract produced by the witness, to form part of the exhibits.
According to Mr. Fatajo, he came in contact with Global Trading Group when the IPP was being installed at the Brikama Power Plant; that there was power outage which warranted Mr. Abdou Jobe and Tijan Bahum to be whisked away by the NIA to Mile II prisons.
Fatajo said Mr. Bazzi invited the senior management of NAWEC for a meeting in his office at Standard Chartered House, where he told them that Bazzi had no hand in the power outage and advised them to be patriotic; that there would be zero-tolerance and whoever was found wanting, would face the consequence. He however said one of their members from NAWEC responded to him that no one could tell them to be patriotic because they did not have a second home like him.
He confirmed that this meeting was held before the management contract; that it was in 2006 when the contract was completed and they knew that Mr. Bazzi was close to the former president and there was something was in the offing.
Mr. Fatajo testified that the power purchase agreement with Global Trading Group (GTG), was to provide four generators but the guarantee was for 22 megawatts. It was put to him by Mrs Bensouda that Mr. Alagie Conteh said in his evidence that the price was that of used generators.
In response, Fatajo told the Commission that the capacity charge was high, noting that the price of fuel kept changing; that they had half of the capacity available since the guarantee was for 22 megawatts, and that this was why they told them to respect the capacity charge.
Fatajo further said the purpose would have been defeated if they could not provide the volume of electricity required; that the relationship between the Bazzi group and the former president was difficult to tell.
According to him, the two generators before the contract was entered into, were unreliable and the maintenance was not adhered to; that GTG was more of a player and a referee at the same time.
Mr. Fatajo added that they decided to have an assessment of the generators and they officially took over the operation of the plant in 2013; that there was a letter from the office of the former president asking them to suspend the capacity charge for two years; that there was an agreement between GTG and the former Government, to hand over to NAWEC, further stating that they took the entire plant. He told the Commission that on the 5th of November 2015, there was transfer of ownership.
At this juncture, Mr. Fatajo disclosed to the Commission that taking over the GTG and the Power Plant facilities from the Bazzi group, was a disaster to NAWEC; that there were observations by NAWEC’s MD that the Company was at risk with the intervention of the former government.
According to him, there was no corresponding measures to ensure that NAWEC was protected; that the Company became bankrupt, and other sister institutions like SSHFC became bankrupt, as they tried in assisting to maintain NAWEC’s operations.
He adduced that this was a bad situation for the Company and that for NAWEC to be able to service the IPP, it should be able to generate income.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda applied to tender the minutes of the negotiations between GTG and NAWEC for power generation and a letter dated 20th June 2012, for the handing over of the IPP at Brikama and other relevant documents as exhibits. The Energy Company boss disclosed that there was a Project Manager hired by GTG for the evaluation process and GTG bid for the contract and together with her associates (PCG).
Mr. Fatajo further indicated that there was a total loan of $22,000,000 and that $17,000,000 was for the supply of fuel; that there was an executive directive that the contract should be given to GTG and PCG, when it was put to him by Commission Counsel that the bidding price was less than the contract sum. On Generator No. 9, he said it was in service since 2009-2010, stating that it had a major breakdown. He told the commission that Venezuela’s funds were partially used for the purchase of the said generator.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine urged him to work with his finance team and furnish them with all payments which were made by NAWEC to GTG among others, so that they could quantify the amount and know how disastrous it was. In response, Fatajo said the finance men at his office are working on it.
Mr. Fatajo further testified that they were not directly involved at the beginning when SSHFC gave a loan to NAWEC to purchase the two generators for the electrification of West Coast Region; that the date for the contract which was signed with SSHFC, was on the 2nd of October 2007.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put to him that a sum of €4.3 million should have been transferred to GTG account, and he responded that GTG told them that they needed €1.3 million and later €1.8 million was paid for the provision of auxiliary equipment, which were part of a loan from SSHFC.
He responded that he could not remember as to how the loan given to NAWEC by SSHFC, was going to be paid by NAWEC, noting that the loan is outstanding.
Documents relating to the said loan were tendered and admitted as exhibit. Fatajo finally told the Commission that out of the two generators, one is operational while the other one is out of order
||Posted - 31 May 2018 : 13:49:10
Jammeh, family members given notice to present evidence before Janneh Commission
The point: Thursday, May 31, 2018
The Commission of Inquiry has given notice that it will from the June 25, 2018, begin to receive evidence from Ex-President Yahya Jammeh, his family members, named close associates, and any person or persons who considers themselves adversely affected by the evidence so far led before the commission hear oral argument evidence as against documentary evidence.
According to a notice issued by the said commission, any person who wishes to call evidence, recall witnesses who have already given evidence before the Commission for cross examination, or make oral arguments in respect of Ex-President Jammeh, his family members, named close associates and any person or persons who consider themselves adversely affected by evidence so far led before the commission is required to submit to the secretary to the commission a written request setting out; the names of the witnesses to be presented to the commission; the names of witnesses , persons who wishes the commission to recall for cross examination; and finally any other evidence to be brought to the attention of the Commission.
Furthermore, the notice advised that all request must be submitted before or on the 15th of June, 2018, and admonished that if a request is not acknowledged with regard to any person at that date, the commission would assume that such person does not intend to present evidence or cross examine in the inquiry.
Author: Bruce Asemota and Micheal O. Davies
||Posted - 31 May 2018 : 13:47:32
Jammeh refused to do business with reputable companies
The Point: Thursday, May 31, 2018
Momodou B. Jallow, former managing director of NAWEC, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that the former president, Yahya Jammeh, had never wanted to do business with reputable companies.
He reappeared before the commission in connection to issues relating to the contracts of the company.
He told the commission that he could remember the issues of discount and rates being presented to him; adding that they were told by Mr. Bazzi that they should refund the cost of the discount but he told him that it was not the responsibility of NAWEC.
According to him, the IPP was commissioned before he became the MD of NAWEC, noting that they were not given enough money to pay for the IPP. He testified that with the IPP, there was a drastic improvement on electricity but all the money was going to help the IPP, further stating that the transmission and distribution network was not good, and that financially, it was not good for NAWEC in connection to the IPP.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that when the contract was signed in 2007, the mark-up was 17%, and Mr. Jallow responded that he was not aware of the 3% mark-up. However, he told the commission when Mr. Bazzi brought the contract to his office, he told him that the former president wanted him to sign the contract which he confirmed.
Mr. Jallow testified that he was told by Mr. Bazzi that the former president told him (Bazzi) that at the end of the contract, NAWEC would be free to bring fuel without any charges and also keep the fuel at the Mandinary depot as well.
Mrs. Bensouda at this juncture put it to him that there was a $52 per metric tonne difference, and asked him why. In response, he said he was doing his job in good faith and felt that he should not refuse when Mr. Bazzi brought the contract from the former president to sign, and also considering the circumstances at the time.
At this juncture, Commissioner Saine put it to him that the company generated electricity loss, and he responded that there was 33% loss. He further adduced that the generators at Brikama were not good ones because they were second-hand generators. He added that they changed the transformers to make sure that they reduce the loss.
According to him, the losses on electricity should have been taken into account before venturing on the IPP contract. When asked by Commissioner Saine whether the company’s weakness was highlighted, and he responded that there was no tender for the IPP which was wrong. He said the former president was the problem.
Mr. Jallow adduced that the former president was enslaving people; adding that the losses could have been higher. He said if one is not given the opportunity to transform his/her organisation, there is no way it is possible even if the individual is highly educated.
He further disclosed that the former president preferred to do business with individuals rather than reputable companies.
On generators funded by SSHFC, he revealed to the commission that he was called to go to a meeting at the Ministry of Finance, and upon arrival, he found some directors at the office whom he joined.
According to him, Mr. Bazzi came in and said he was from State House and was told by the former president that NAWEC should buy generators from China but should be funded by SSHFC.
Mr. Jallow further narrated that the signing of the contract took two days, noting that they made sure all what the former president wanted was done, and that it took a long time before the generators were delivered. He testified that payment to SSHFC was suspended, and that he was not aware of the payment of $1.8 million by SSHFC.
Further testifying, he revealed to the commission that when he was leaving, the process was still on and the generators were never commissioned. He said that up to the time he was removed in 2009, there was a capacity charge.
Dwelling on the Venezuela loan, he stated that there was a loan of $22,000,000 from Bandesh Bank, noting that they presented a project document to secure the said loan to improve the transmission and distribution of electricity within the Greater Banjul Area.
Mr. Jallow informed the commission that over 90% was won by GTG while the remaining percentage was won by some Gambian companies and that of Bazziz’s associates.
He further stated that he received a letter from the office of the former president with regard to the project that part of the funds was to settle the Bazzi Group; adding that there were outstanding invoices.
The former energy company boss revealed that he was present when the loan agreement was being signed in Venezuela but he did not sign it, further stating that his deputy, Mrs. Sira Wally Ndow-Njie, represented NAWEC and one Mustapha Colley was also in the committee to secure the loan.
Still testifying, he told the commission that the Water Project was funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to improve water production and transmission within the Greater Banjul Area, and that the bidders included a Nigerian company.
He said the contract was awarded to the Nigerian company but down the line, they could not perform and the contract was awarded to the highest bidder, Water Resources and Development (WARD).
He adduced that he was removed before the implementation started. He was asked whether there were any projects that the former president was involved. He answered that there was a 10 mega watt project and Mr. Bazzi wanted to offer 3 mega watt sets, as he told him that this was what the former president had told him, and the minister of Finance had confirmed this to him (Mr. Jallow).
He indicated that he told the minister of Finance that the 10 mega watt was to be substituted with the 3 mega watt sets but the minister told him that this was not possible, further stating that there were a lot of interference in the project and this was why the project was not completed.
Mr. Jallow adduced that they did some works at State House, Kanilai, Palm Grove etc. and the former president never paid NAWEC for the services rendered. He disclosed that the former president was bringing other people who interfered in NAWEC operations and these people never wanted the problem to be solved.
According to him, the former president framed him that he wanted to poison him, noting that he had to face a high level panel of investigators, who wanted to implicate him in the poisoning of the former president. He added that it was a very scaring time that they went through.
Documents relating to two statements of the witness on NAWEC post-dated cheques and NAWEC’s general issues were tendered and admitted in evidence.
At this juncture, Commission Chairman, Sourahata Janneh, asked the witness whether NAWEC has ever conducted a survey of generating a profit, and in response, he said he could not remember. He put it to him that NAWEC was not successful because of debt of money, materials and electricity itself. Mr. Jallow responded in the affirmative.
Further challenged, the chairman of the commission told him that there was bad network of transmission and distribution which also affected NAWEC’s profitability. He was also told that inefficient management of fuel and spare parts also contributed. He then responded in the positive.
Mr. Jallow acknowledged that central and local government, as well as former president and Mr. Bazzi’s interference, also contributed to the failure of NAWEC.
Mr. Nani Juwara, deputy managing director of NAWEC, testified on free electricity allocated within the Foni, as directed by the former president. He also answered questions relating to Aqua Company operations in the country.
Sitting continues on Monday.
Author: Dawda Faye
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