Gamtel Consultant Discloses
Alagie Abdoulie Kebbeh, telecom engineer and consultant, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that Gamtel performed well during Jawara’s time.
He was testifying in connection to a contract between MGI and the Multimedia Gateway Incorporation.
According to him, the said contract was signed by Balla Jassey and Babucarr Jabbai in October, 2014, further stating that the purpose of the contract was for the implementation of the gateway.
Further testifying, Mr. Kebbeh said he had the contract documents of MGI for the management of Gamtel international gateway.
However, he said he did not have the memorandum and articles of association of the company.
The telecom expert at that point produced correspondences which included the duty waiver for Mobicell and other documents relating to the contract and other projects which were addressed to the Secretary General. He added that the contracts were not subjected to competitive bidding.
He also informed the commission that there was a duty waiver on MGI contract and they did not find out whether they were paying corporate taxes; adding that the taskforce report did not look into the issue of tax for MGI in Switzerland or its subsidiary company in The Gambia.
Rectifying his previous testimony on the payment received by MGI from Gamtel gateway proceeds, he said the sum of $600,000 was effected from the 1st of June, 2014, to 31st December, 2014, and also $800,000 up to the end of 2016 when the contract started.
Dwelling further, he said Gamtel did not benefit from the contract and that all the monies went to Spectrum. He said Gamtel had no autonomy to manage the company; adding that the monies went to CBG and not to Gamtel.
Mr. Kebbeh testified that they did not suggest to the former government to sell Gamtel shares. He said what he meant by ‘autonomy’ was that Gamtel should decide on matters concerning Gamtel and the management of the gateway. He recollected that Gamtel was among the best companies in terms of communication after South Africa.
He assumed that if the company enjoys autonomy, it would regain its lost glory. He said the companies that signed contracts with Gamtel for the management of gateway were not investors but business group who showed interest in the national telecom company.
According to him, the shareholders of Gamtel (government) seized the revenue of the company and interfered with its affairs which had affected the company. He said Gamtel’s debt was about 1 billion dalasis.
At this juncture, when he was asked by Commissioner Saine, he said he did not think that the termination of traffic at the office of the former president stopped.
Documents relating to the management service reports as well as certificates of incorporation were admitted in evidence.
Next to testify was Abdoulie Jallow, permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance, who reappeared in connection to the disbursement of $5,000,000 to a Central Bank account. He told the commission that they could not establish the beneficiary of the said amount.
According to him, the normal procedure was to follow their tender procedure and when it was finalised, the supervisor or the government consultant would authorise or certify for payments. However, on a $35,000,000 loan, he said they did not have any evidence that the Ministry of Finance was involved.
Commission’s counsel, Amie Bensouda, told him that in 1999, there were grants signed by the government but the witness responded that grants were handled by the office of the former president; adding that he did not know anything regarding the Republic of China, and The Gambia protocols.
It was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that substantial grants were made by Taiwan. In response, he said most of the grants were involved in the development assistance; adding that his ministry was fully involved in grants given to The Gambia as it must be included in the estimates presented to the National Assembly and are treated under Revenue and Grants Section.
However, Mr. Jallow revealed to the commission that his ministry did not play any role in the grants granted by Republic of China on Taiwan, because the ministry was not involved in grants prior to 2013.