Thursday, March 4, 2021

Bala Jassey Reappears At The ‘Janneh’ Commission

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By Mamadou Dem
The Chief Executive Officer and proprietor of Mobicell Company Bala Jassey, yesterday reappeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission to testify on the Gamtel Gateway contracts among other related matters.
Appearing before the commission, it was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that a letter dated 3rd February 2014, was written to him by one Muhammed Lamin Jaiteh from the office of the former president and the said letter was shown to him which he confirmed.
Upon perusal of the letter, Jassey stated that it was a proposal he made that never happened; that he submitted a proposal to the tune of $995,000, noting that he spoke to the former First Lady in French through Saul Badjie’s phone; that he did not know why the first lady spoke to him in French while he was in Dakar, Senegal. Jassey confirmed that he had worked at the office of the former first lady.

At this juncture, a letter written by the former Gamtel MD Baboucarr Sanyang, was shown to him, which he also confirmed to the Commission. He confirmed working at the state house in 2012 and added there was a letter indicating that they did some work at State house amounting to $316,469; that he never had any connection with General Saul Badjie, and that his interaction with him was on instructions.
At this point, Counsel Bensouda reminded him that he had a contract with the former Government and there were documents showing payments relating to the contract. In response, Jassey said those were payments made to him for the second phase of the contract.
When it was further pressed on him by Counsel Bensouda that he was instrumental in connecting MGI to The Gambia, Jassey replied that he never had specific meetings with any Secretary General.
Mrs. Bensouda further put to him that Njogu Bah said in his evidence that he (Jassey) accompanied MGI representatives to Kanilai. In response Jassey responded that a letter was written to the MGI office for him to attend the meeting in Kanilai; but that he never attended.
Counsel Bensouda further asked whether he knew that MGI wanted to manage the International Gateway, and the effort he made to assist them. Responding to the question, Jassey said MGI was directly dealing with the office of the former president.Counsel Bensouda again asked whether he got a certificate from GIEPA and he responded in the negative; that he never bid for any contract at the office of the former president and Gamtel.
At this juncture, he was shown documents indicating some payments amounting to D461, 680 from the tax recovery account, which he confirmed.
He told the Commission that he worked at the National Assembly and confirmed that the said contract was awarded to him by Baboucarr Sanyang, the then MD of Gamtel. He testified that the National Assembly did not award him any contract.
At this juncture, Bensouda put it to him that the sum of $585,804 was the cost of the contract and Gamtel paid him more than the said amount; that he charged $35,000 for default payment. Jassey responded in the negative.
He was further shown a set of documents and was put to him that he also charged $35,687 which he said was currency loss, but Jassey denied this.
Further testifying, Jassey told the Commission that there was a letter showing reasons for the payment of $35,000; that the said amount was not for a penalty.
The telecom expert revealed that he had several meetings at the National Assembly before and after the contract and was invited by the National Assembly and Gamtel; that he never communicated directly with NA. He told the Commission that he had the said contract to provide the maintenance services for the NA.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put to him that there was no contract between him and the NA, which he confirmed.
Again, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that the NA did not sign a document that was sent to them because the NA said they had no connection with his Company. In response, Jassey said they did not send a contract to NA, noting that when Gamtel said they could not support the system that was the time they sent a contract to the NA.
Counsel Bensouda further put it to him that he performed a contract for MGI. In response, Jassey said he carried out ICT projects for MGI; that he replaced the router at Gamtel on behalf of MGI, further stating that he could not tell the Commission the total cost for the ICT projects but they summarised the payments.
Mr. Jassey testified that he did not do additional work at the office of the former president.
At this juncture, documents relating to the projects carried out on behalf of MGI and other relevant documents, were tendered and admitted as exhibits.
Sitting continues today.

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