NAWEC under pressure to sign bond with Bazzi

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ebrima Sanyang, former managing director of NAWEC, yesterday disclosed to the Janneh Commission that they were working under pressure when they signed a bond with Muhammed Bazzi, the proprietor of Global Trading Group.

He appeared in connection to NAWEC’s contracts and other related issues.

According to Mr. Sanyang, he is currently doing some consultancy as well as some installations for people who need his services. He confirmed that he was the managing director of NAWEC and had worked there for 23 years from January 1994 to 6th March, 2017.

He testified that in 2008, he was the transmission and distribution manager while in 2009 he was the manager for installations, and in 2010 he was appointed as deputy managing director, while on the 30th of October, 2011, he became the MD of the company.

Mr. Sanyang informed the commission that in 2011, they had both Kotu Power Station in place and the Power Plant at Brikama and among the generators he named were No 6,3, 9, 2 etc. He added that at the Brikama Power Plant, four sets were functional but the SSHFC generators were not functioning until 2013, noting that at the time, the Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) supply contract was with Global Trading Group (GTG).

He said the contract for Global Management System expired and was not renewed, further stating that the Rural Electrification Project was among the projects he found at the company. He confirmed to the commission that he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the 15th of July, 2012, for the extension of HFO contract, which contract expired in 2007.

According to him, the same terms and conditions were applied at the time of extending the said contract; adding that the 3% and 17% mark-up was to be observed in 2004 and 2007 contracts respectively.

Mr. Sanyang revealed that when the HFO contract expired in 2007, they wrote to the office of the former president informing them about the expiry of the contracts, due to the fact that the contract awarded was exclusive.

He further testified that there were efforts to get HFO from Mauritania, hence there was a bilateral relations to do that but were later told that Mauritania was not refining fuel. He said at a meeting, the issue of GNPC supplying NAWEC with fuel was raised. Therefore, GNPC should be given time to raise funds to enable them import fuel and it was because of that, they were asked to continue with the contract for GNPC to supply them with fuel.

The former NAWEC MD disclosed that the former Commissioner of Petroleum, Fafa Sanyang, and other personalities attended the meeting.

He said they later stopped the supply from GNPC because there were serious issues on specification. However, when asked who the minister was at the time, he said he could not remember. He said over the years, Euro Africa Group and Gam Petroleum were granted exclusivity for the importation of fuel.

According to him, immediately after the MOU expired, they went into an intensive engagement with GTG and the moment they were engaged on the MOU, they discussed on the price; adding that Mr. Bazzi was not present at the negotiation table. He said during the negotiation, it was difficult between the two parties but later the supplier (GTG) reduced the price from 17% to 10% as well as from $52  to $49.

Mr. Sanyang further told the commission that they did not extend the 2015 contract and that they went through a tender and GTG was among the bidders, noting that when they signed a contract with GNPC, among the terms and conditions, included transportation cost and storage among others.

He said when they started the contract, they wanted to bring the margin to 17% but NAWEC officials intimated to them that they could not sign such because the HFO contract had been going on for many years and the prices were fixed. He added that they had directives to reduce the price and that they negotiated with Mr. Fadia Mazegi.

The witness revealed that they also entered into a negotiation for the extension of the IPP and there was an MOU to that effect because there was original document with regard to the operation of the IPP. He said that was why they thought it was fitting to have an MOU in place.

Still testifying, he disclosed that while negotiating on the IPP, the issue of NAWEC settling its liabilities and to take over the power plant arose. He said the SSHFC generators were almost ready and the executive was informed that the matter had not been resolved and the executive promised to settle it.   

He said they wrote to the office of the former president informing them that Global Electrical Group (GEG) was still insisting for the payment of the liabilities. However, he said they were invited at the office of the former president where they were told to take over the power plant by Momodou Sabally, former secretary general.

According to him, Mr. Bazzi was present at the meeting and was furious about what NAWEC was told; adding that the extension of the IPP power plant was part of the contract, and that once the IPP was over, NAWEC would take over.

He said when he was appointed as MD, what he found was the IPP power plant and there were instructions. He added that there was a capacity charge of $10,000,000 which was settled. He said the idea for the bond was to settle the liabilities and it came from the Ministry of Finance.

Mr. Sanyang indicated that once the bond was instituted, the liabilities were not paid and GEG wrote back and made their position clear regarding the two-year payment deferral on the capacity charge but NAWEC maintained their position, insisting that they could not pay the capacity without prior approval from the office of the former president.

He adduced that there was a meeting for the Ministry of Energy to find out whether there was a capacity charge to be paid, noting that the secretary general copied a letter to GEG regarding the capacity charge.

According to him, when he was confronted by the former minister of Energy, Sarja Sanneh, he (Sanyang) told him that all the procedures and processes of the bond were handled by the Ministry of Finance and he advised him to consult the ministry and further went on to notify the minister on the discussions he held with Mr. Sanneh.

With regard to the capacity charge, he said when he assumed as MD, he asked about the genesis of the capacity charge and further find out whether there were any correspondences to that effect but he could not find any.

He said nobody could substantiate  the issue of the capacity charge, noting that the late Mr. Ndure would have been in a better position to explain about the capacity charge, and that the office of the former president wrote to NAWEC to issue post-dated discount cheque to the tune of D150,000,000. He said once the discount was done, they consulted the office of the former president.

Fadia Mazegi reappeared in connection to MYJ account, $612,000 paid from the AU Summit account and NAWEC’s contracts respectively.

Sittings continue today.

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: Muhammed Bazzi