Gamtel lost revenue as a result of traffic termination by Office of former President, Says Gamtel MD

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The managing director of GAMTEL, Sulayman Suso, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that Gamtel lost revenue as a result of traffic termination by the Office of the former President.

He was testifying in relation to GAMTEL/GAMCEL and other matters .Mr Suso gave brief synopsis of his career at GAMTEL and the various positions he held until his appointment as the managing director. He   said Gamtel owns Gamcel and Gamcel is subsidiary to Gamtel. He testified that Gamtel was incorporated in 1984 and at the time of his testimony, he did not have memorandum of article when asked by the commission’s counsel. Mr Suso informed the commission that Gamcel is a fixed mobile operator.

He testified that international gateway means all telephone traffic goes through the gateway, further stating that there is a voice gateway and data gateway. He said that the voice gateway has not been liberalised, adding that the office of the former president was supervising Gamrtel.

He said Gamcel was set up in 2001 and Gamtel was managing the international gateway starting from analog to digital.

He said the international gateway used to be managed by Gamtel until 2006 when international gateway managers were invited, further stating that in terms of technology, Gamtel evolved from analog to digital switching . He said at some point there was suspicion that the Office of the former President was terminating traffic and Gamtel lost some revenue, adding that he did not discuss this with his staff.

He said in 1998 Gamcel was the only gateway manager, noting that Spectrum came to acquire 50% share of Gamtel/Gamcel. He told the commission that Global Voice came as a result of challenges in technology.

Mr. Susso revealed that Gamtel engaged Global Voice and the former government sold the shares. He said Spectrum took over the management of Gamtel for a year and a half. He added that Spectrum engaged Oratus during the management of Gamtel by Spectrum.

He stated that Spectrum had been given an ultimatum to leave the country, and that the international gateway was given to System 1, whose services were later terminated by the Office of the former President.

Mr. Suso told the commission that Gamtel took over MGI, and Global Voice contract was signed in 2001  by Omar E. Ndow who was then the managing director. In 2006 there was termination charges which was 20 cents/minute and in 2007 it was 21 cents/minute, he stated .He noted that a memorandum of understanding was signed by one Michael Tenn.

Mr. Suso narrated that the Oratus parties to the agreement were Gamtel and Oratus was incorporated on 7 December, 2007, adding that Oratus was terminated and System 1 made an agreement with Gamtel on 7 December, 2008, and they were based in Mexico.

Mr. Suso revealed that TELL International came next for an agreement with Gamtel on 8 April, 2011, and Gamtel also signed an agreement with MGI, i.e. service and management agreement.

Documents relating to the MOU were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Futher testifying, Mr. Suso said that an agreement for payment from Global to MGI was to be paid into Gamtel’s Foreign account in The Gambia but did not know the payment arrangement for Spectrum. He further stated that he did not know how much Oratus paid to Gamtel.

He told the commission that System 1 made a payment of $24,625,440.11 and that Global paid $10,812,595.19. He stated that TELL payment from April, 2011, to September, 2013, was $18,642,287.60, further noting that there was a diversion of payment from the office of the former president to the Central Bank of The Gambia.

Mr. Suso told the commission that the former government wanted to terminate TELL contract but failed, and he did not know why it failed. He said they were at the mercy of TELL, further stating that TELL should not pay less but he could not verify it. He said the diverted revenue never came back.

Next to testify was the managing director of Access Bank, Mr. David Aluko, in connection to the Office of the former President‘s account which was opened on 8 September, 2014, and Kalilu Bayo was the signatory.

He stated that the purpose of the account was for the purchase of a tent from Netherlands to the tune of D5,000,000 and there was a transfer of D4,000,000.

Mr. Aluko told the commission that there was suppose to be a Euro account and there was a loan which was not disbursed, further disclosing that on 8 May, 2014, there was a transfer of D2,000,000 and also on 14 April, 2014, there was another transfer of  D1,610,177.50 to EXCELL Construction.

Mr. Aluko stated that D2, 154,335 was transferred and there was another transfer to GTTI to the tune of D235, 455.

Documents relating to the account were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Author: Dawda Faye