Sunday, December 5, 2021

NAWEC MD, Finance Director Reappear At ‘Janneh’ Commission


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By Mamadou Dem

Messrs Baba Fatajo and Amat Cham, Managing and Financial Directors of NAWEC respectively, yesterday reappeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission in connection to NAWEC’s contracts.

Prior to his testimony, Fatajo was asked by Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda, to clarify whether it was correct that Global Trading Group (GTG), was occupying one of NAWEC’s properties and he responded that they have begun the process and they would finalize this by 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, Fatajo told Commissioners that it is a power generation project for increasing capacity and funded by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID); that GTG and DORSA were the contractors for this project, and there was a tender process when the contract was awarded to them.

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According to Fatajo, Mr. Ebrima Sanyang was the Managing Director of the Company at the time of the project, and confirmed that the contract sum was $21,000,000 for an 11 megawatt generator for the Kotu.

He however said the commercial process for this project has not yet started because the contractor is still testing; that it would go a long way in alleviating the current electricity problem.

Testifying on the Brikama extension project, Fatajo said it was supposed to be implemented in phases and was subsequently completed; that 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 the NAWEC MD, GTG was among those shortlisted but the Central Bank gave them another list in which GTG was not shortlisted; that there was a lot of pressure from the office of the former president, and they were able to bid among the Companies.

He told the Commission that they went through the bidding and ‘Whatsila’ Company won; but that there was a directive from the office of the former president that they would not allow ‘Whatsila’ to do business in the country and that the contract should be awarded to Hyundai Company.

Fatajo further revealed that the former Managing Director of NAWEC Ebrima Sanyang, was invited by the then Secretary General to a meeting at State House, along with Muhammed Bazzi, indicating that they should engage Hyundai; that they acknowledged receipt of the directive but that they should get the consent of the Bank after a copy of the directive was given to them; but that the bank maintained their position.

He revealed that he was asked to go to the Personnel Management Office (PMO), where he was issued with a dismissal letter; that had it been the project was implemented in 2013, they would not have been in this predicament. Fatajo 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; that the engines were 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 as exhibits.

Next to testify was the Finance Director Amat Cham, who was reminded that he was required to produce NAWEC’s audited financial reports.

According to him, the 2016 auditing of NAWEC began yesterday, by DT Associates, and that the report is yet to be completed; 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. They were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

Upon tendering the financial statements, it was observed by the Commission Chairman Sourahata Janneh, that NAWEC has accounts with 15 Banks including Prime Bank, and asked him to give reasons for this. Mr. Cham responded that these Banks are registered with the Central Bank and their account at Prime Bank is closed; that the account was submitted for reference purposes.

He was again asked what NAWEC has done to reduce their liability, and he responded that the former Government through the Ministry of Finance, was going to settle the liabilities; that 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.

Cham 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 as exhibits.

On the 3% calculation for the water tanks at Half Die in Banjul, Cham said he did not have the invoices because it was in 2002.

Hearing continues today.

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