By Mamadou Dem  

Ms. Laly Diab, one of the proprietors of Emporium Constructions, yesterday reappeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission, in connection to a contract awarded to their Company to refurbish and renovate Ocean Bay Hotel.

According to Ms. Diab, Emporium was invited by SSHFC to submit a bid for the renovation of the hotel; that she could not confirm whether the invitation was verbal or written; that Robert Aswanden was the consultant, and that they corresponded with him.

At this juncture, she was given some documents to peruse, which she did. She confirmed that the documents were the correspondence sent to the consultant; that the said documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Counsel Batchilly asked Ms. Diab whether she knew the circumstances that led SSHFC to invite Emporium to submit bids, and she answered in the negative. It was put to her that after Emporium submitted a bid, they were invited to make proposals. She then responded in the positive.

Ms. Diab told the Commission that Amadou Samba was the board Chairperson, and was instructed to attend a meeting with him; that she has a friendly relationship Mr. Samba.

Counsel Batchilly told her that she was asked to produce some documents, such as contracts. She responded that she did not bring them along because she could not find them.

The businesswoman informed the Commission that the cost of the contract for the renovation of the hotel was $6.5m; that the Company signed the contract with SSHFC and it was done after February, 2003.

At this juncture, she was asked whether before the contract, Emporium carried out any major project. In response, she said they did not do any contract before the one they had with SSHFC.

According to her, the Company was incorporated the year they were awarded the bid; that they did a complete refurbishment of the hotel; that the cost of the variation which was added to the contract cost, was $1,053,837.

The document relating to the variation sum was tendered and admitted as an exhibit. She was asked to recall the additional works Emporium did, but she said she could not remember. It was then put to her, that they did not deliver on time, but she insisted that they did.

At this juncture, she was given some letters to go through, which she did. The said letters were tendered and admitted as exhibits.

She revealed that the contract was the biggest contract they ever had.

Ms. Diab told the Commission that the Company completed all the works; that she made a statement to the investigators which she endorsed. The said statement was also admitted in evidence.

Hearings continues today.

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