Council Bensouda: Commission should accept the evidence of Gamtel staff’

Friday, November 30, 2018

Counsel Amie Bensouda yesterday told the Janneh Commission that the commission should accept the evidence of the staff of Gamtel that Mobicell and MGI managed the international gateway. She made this remark when she was continuing her address.

According to her, over one year, D214, 000,000 was paid into Mr. Bazzi’s account and D52, 000,000 was overdrawn, noting that the money was from TELL Company. She disclosed that Mr. Bazzi said that he was authorised to make payments into the account of the former president. “Whether he was an intermediary between the former president to pay the money into his account, the action remained illegal,” she told the commission.

She submitted that Ahmed Hobert, who is related to Mr. Bazzi, opened the MYJ (Mariama Yaya Jammeh) account with over $4,000,000, and that $3,500,000 was transferred from his account to a bank in the USA on behalf of the former president. She added that the said amount was frozen by the bank.

According to her, Global Trading Group engaged the former president, further stating that the former government should have facilitated the supply of oil, but this was the contrary. She submitted that premium was provided to Euro Africa Group and $150 was charged per metric ton for the importation of fuel. “The premium was unreasonably high,” she said.

She went on to say that it was Euro Africa Oil Company Group that was given exclusivity, noting that Euro Africa Group had a contract with NAWEC and all payments were made to Euro Africa Group. She adduced that Abdou Colley told the commission that the effort he made was that he was not in favour  of the exclusivity for the supply of oil.

She added that such companies enjoyed $10,000,000 and other sum of monies, disclosing that Mr. Bazzi and Mr. Mazegi are close associates of the former president. “Global Trading Group started business in the country since 2000 and registered in 2015, and they made millions,” she told the commission. She stated that Global Trading Group flouted to pay tax.

Dwelling on Gamtel, she indicated that it was established in 1984, adding that the company showed that its performance was affected by the interference of the former president, and this affected their revenue, citing the termination coming from state house.

She further told the commission that according to Mr. Bazzi, the former president appointed TELL Company to manage Gamtel, and that all payments received from the gateway should be paid into the account of the former president. “It was alarming that Gamtel was losing 50% of its revenue,” she said.

According to her, the former president terminated the contract of TELL Company because there was another company called MGI, and that he asked for $10,000,000 for terminating TELL Company contract.  “The agreement between MGI and the former government was the directive of the former president and the illegality of the contract is our concern,” she stated.

Counsel Bensouda further told the commission that in all the contracts, the former president interfered, saying that MGI opened an account at the Central Bank and the former president was the sole signatory to the account. She adduced that the former president allowed General Saul Badjie to take monies from the account, because Mr. Amadou Colley was the governor of the Central Bank.

According to her, MGI had total control of the gateway and it collected $140,000,000 and they made a profit of over $70,000,000 from the gateway.  She stated that it was revealed that MGI spent $3,600,000 on switches, noting that this was untenable.

She told the commission further that according to former managing director of Gamtel, Mr. Sanyang, the purchase of the switches was from the gateway revenue. “None of the Gamtel staff could explain the contracts mentioned by Balla Jasseh in his evidence,” she said.

She added that the Gamtel staff could not ascertain the revenue Balla Jasseh got from the gateway, and that MGI was summoned to appear before the commission but they failed to do so, stating that the company did not show how they spent $60,000,000 on the government.

According to her, $634,000 contract was awarded to Gamtel by the National Assembly, noting that Gamtel lost $35.000,000, and that $3,300,000 was paid to the former president by Balla Jasseh without any consideration.

Counsel Bensouda further informed the commission that the former president decided that Gamtel should pay 50% of its revenue to Spectrum, adding that the former president withdrew substantial amount of money from the consolidated revenue fund through directives.

She finally thanked the commission for its indulgence. Counsel Mary Samba then briefly replied to the address made by Counsel Bensouda in defense of her client, Mr. Amadou Samba.

At this juncture, the chairman of the commission, Surahata Janneh, said they would adjourn sine die (indefinitely), as they are going to write their report.  

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: Counsel Amie Bensouda