Mustapha Corr, former NAWEC MD, taken to task

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The former managing director of NAWEC, Mustapha Corr, yesterday continued to give evidence before the Janneh Commission via a video conference.

Mr. Corr testified in relation to some contracts, as well as matters in connection to NAWEC.

He testified that he started work at NAWEC from 1996 to 2001 as director of generations and the managing director until he left in 2004, stating that the company was incorporated in 1996 and partnered with a lot of utility companies.

However, he said he was not aware of the involvement of the former president in the affairs of NAWEC during his career from 1996 to 2001.

Mr Corr, who was also appointed as the general manager of GNPC, also confirmed a loan from Taiwan for a supply of three generator sets for the company.

According to him,  the time he had discussion with Mr. Bazzi regarding the generators was in 2001 and by then, he said Mr. Conteh, the then MD of NAWEC, was not in the office.

He was also reminded by the commission of his letter of appointment as MD of NAWEC and a letter indicating that he was appointed as general manager of GNPC.

According to him, Utility Holding Company had some management contract for the running of NAWEC, further stating that UHC took over from Management Services Gambia Ltd., which also took over from Gambia Utilities Corporation.

Asked about what was the involvement of Samuel Sarr in the contract for the supply of fuel to NAWEC, he responded that the last time he heard about Mr. Sarr was when there was a contract with NAWEC and Gampower. However, he said the contract was terminated, adding that he did not know whether Mr. Sarr had a share in Sordium Company [French company].

Further testifying, he stated that they were trying to have operation capacity at Kotu, and that they finalised 6 mega watt generator when Alagie Conteh was the MD, noting that it took them a long time to acquire the said generator .

Mr. Corr disclosed that when he took over as MD, the contract of 18 mega watt generator was between Global Trading Group and the former government .

At this juncture, he was reminded that testimonies revealed that the generators were not brand new ones. In response, he told the commission that NAWEC was not represented at the testing of the said generators, but he was told that the generators were new.

Counsel Bensouda asked him whether there were other suppliers other than Global Trading Group. He recalled that there was a negotiation between the former government and Shell Company. He was again asked what the financial arrangements for the three generators were, and he replied that he could not recall.

Mr. Corr informed the commission that the contract between GTG and the former government was signed by the office of the former president and the Ministry of Finance.

It was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that $10.8 million was paid out for the supply of generators, and he stated that he signed an agreement for the rehabilitation of a plant in the Greater Banjul Area with GTG which was about $14 million.

Mr. Corr adduced that a French company called Sodium was approached for the transmission of the plant, and that they did the master plan for NAWEC which was a grant.

He further revealed that the agreement they signed with GTG for the transmission was dated 12 of October, 2001, which he witnessed, and signed by Mambury Njie.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that $25 million which included $14 million contract, and that $25 million from which $10.86 million should have been refunded to GTG. In response, he explained that he could not recall but there were payment schemes which were made by the former government.

It was put to him that Mr. Conteh said the price of transmission was inflated, and he said that this was the first time he heard about it. Again, he was asked whether he had the possibility to negotiate a price, and he responded that they discussed it during a meeting.

It was also put to him that on 25 of July 2001 there were minutes indicating that there was $12 million budget which he confirmed. He was reminded that Mr Conteh said in his evidence that they were given international prices, and the contract ought not to have cost $8 million and he did not agree to sign the said contract.

Mr. Corr replied that in 2001 they signed the contract with GTG and Mr. Conteh was not present. He was told that there could not be a standard price for a transmission line with GTG, and he responded that the office of the former president sent him $12 million contract and that Mambury Njie was the then SG.

He further told the commission that he signed with GTG for fuel supply, and this was due to circumstances at the office of the former president which sent the contract to GTG to sign with NAWEC.

He was reminded that the storage capacity need in Banjul should have been resolved, and he said there was 3% mark-up for the price of storage tank. He was again asked whether he ever dealt with the former president directly, and he answered in the negative, noting that he only dealt with the PS and SG.

Mr. Corr informed the commission that there was a letter from the office of the former president which he received in September, 2004, indicating that he was appointed GM of GNPC, adding that the said company was newly set up at the time, so that he could help with the management but his service was terminated by the office of the former president, because he wanted to go on leave.

At this juncture, a letter relating to his appointment as MD of NAWEC was tendered and admitted in evidence, along with a copy of answers he gave to the investigators.

He was also asked whether their partnership with GTG was strategic, and he replied that they only signed a contract for the supply of oil with GTG.

He finally told the commission that they were openly able to negotiate with other companies, and this was why there was not much interference of the office of the former president.

Sitting continues today.

Author: Dawda Faye