By Mamadou Dem
Mr. Antonio Daniel, the proprietor of Capital Gas Limited, was yesterday summoned before the Janneh Commission in connection to Gam Petroleum storage facility at Mandinary.
He said he lives at Oasis Building at Senegambia and that he is an Argentinean; adding that he has been in The Gambia for 20 or 21 years. He said he holds Argentinean passport and his second nationality is Lebanese.
At this juncture, he was requested to submit a copy of his passport to the commission.
Continuing his testimony, he said that he started work in 2003 or 2004, noting that he worked on a project at Gam Petroleum depot at Mandinary.
He stated that Gam Petroleum belongs to Mr. Muhammad Bazzi, Fadi Mazegi and Tarik Mousa, who asked him to do the work, further testifying that before he was approached by the owners of Gam Petroleum, he never did any work in The Gambia. He stated that the said people were told about his company and this was the first project he executed in the country.
At this juncture, a Memorandum of Article of Association was shown to him, and he confirmed that his company was incorporated in 2007, noting that he owns 60% shares while his son owns 40% shares in Capital Gas.
Mr. Daniel further testified that they do not own the premises occupied by the company but they want to buy it; adding that part of the land belongs to one lady with whom they discussed to buy it. However, he revealed to the commission that there was a Senegalese company using the land prior to them, further indicating that one Donald Travor, a Senegalese, owns TTS Company.
At this juncture, Commission Chairman, Sourahata Janneh, told him that the investigators, with the help of land officials, will visit the said land to know who owns it.
The businessman further revealed that there was a verbal contract between himself, Mr. Bazzi and Fadi Mazegi, noting that he did not see Tarik Mousa again after the contract. He added that he did not sign a contract with them. He said he built the depot, the pipeline and the marine system, further stating that a company from Senegal, CSE, built the road from the village to the premises.
Mr. Daniel adduced that Beem Company was the supervisor for the whole project while SGS did the welding works, and that Mr. Muhammed Bazzi and Fadi Mazegi brought some people for the civil works but one of them left the country after working with him for a year.
He told the commission that Mr. Tony Ghattas owns Afric Star Company and they did the civil works; adding that Gamsen Construction Company belongs to Mr. Amadou Samba, who owns one of the cranes and they usually buy cement from Mr. Samba. He added that the back filling was done by one Tony Hajj.
At this juncture, Mrs. Bensouda asked him whether he knows a company called Zorbex and he responded in the negative. He testified that they made the renovation of Shell depot and that the landscaping was done by one engineer from Lebanon. He said he did everything necessary on the depot.
At this juncture, he confirmed signing a contract between Capital Gas and Gam Petroleum, and according to him, the contract was for him to do the maintenance.
Mr. Daniel further told the commission that he was paid for all the work he did up to the completion and were paid salaries to the tune of $20,000 every month for all the team. He said they promised to give him 10% shares on the project but they did not fulfill their promise.
At this juncture, the witness was asked to calculate the 10% shares, and was required to produce the list of those who were working on the project, and what kind of work they were doing. He said the SGS company were taking pictures and used to advised his company whether to continue with the work or not.
He said he was responsible for the marine line installation as well as the installation of internal and external pipes, but the painting was done by CSE, noting that the boiler for the Banjul depot was bought from Belgium while that of Mandinary was ordered from Lebanon.
According to him, one Mr. George Zacko was the project manager, and was paid from the $20,000, further indicating that he did not know the overall cost of the project. He said he would order things and someone would buy, stating that it was difficult to estimate the cost of the whole project. However, he promised to provide documents regarding the cost of the project.
Mr. Daniel disclosed to commissioners that after completing the project, he could not get some of his money but was compensated with a barge and a welding machine. A contract agreement dated 27th September, 2008, between Capital Gas and Gam Petroleum was shown to him, and he said that it was meant to provide a tug boat and a barge to Gam Petroleum.
He further informed the Commission that Gam Petroleum bought a tug boat and they provided the maintenance of the barge.
At this juncture, a copy of the witness’ passport, certificate of business registration, Memorandum and Articles of Association, Tin number of the company and his statement were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Mr. Sanna Jarju, former Chief of Protocol, office of the former president, testified under cross-examination via Skype, while Mr. Sarjo Khan continued to testify under cross-examination and was later re-examined by Counsel Bensouda.
Sittings continue today.