Jammeh didn’t give reason for dismissals

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. 

He 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
Source: Picture: Baba Fatajo, the managing director of NAWEC