By Mamadou Dem
Mustapha Corr, former Managing Director of NAWEC, yesterday reappeared at the ‘Janneh’ Commission and continued with his evidence via a video conference from his base in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Corr testified on numerous issues on contracts as well as the state of the Company, NAWEC among other related matters.
Corr told the Commission that he started work at NAWEC from 1996 to 2001 as Director of generation and as the Managing Director, until he left in 2004; that the Company was incorporated in 1996 and partnered with lot of other utility Companies.
He however said he was not aware of the involvement of former president Jammeh in the affairs of NAWEC during his career, from 1996 to 2001.
According to him, by the time he discussed with Mr. Muhammed Bazzi regarding the generators in 2001, Mr. Conteh, the former MD of NAWEC was not in the office.
Mr. Corr who was also appointed as the General Manager of GNPC, also confirmed a loan recieved from Taiwan, as a supply of three generator sets for the energy Company.
He was reminded by the Commission of his letter of appointment as MD of NAWEC and a letter indicating that he was appointed as general manager of GNPC.
According to Corr, the Utility Holding Company had some management contract for the running of NAWEC, noting that UHC took over from Management Services Gambia Limited, which also took over from Gambia Utilities Corporation.
When asked about the involvement of Samuel Sarr in the contract for the supply of fuel to NAWEC, Corr responded that the last time he heard about Mr. Sarr, was when there was a contract with NAWEC and Gam-power; that the contract was terminated but he did not know whether Mr. Sarr had a share in Sordium Company, a French Company.
Further testifying, he told Commissioners that they were trying to have an operation capacity at Kotu, and they finalized a 6 megawatt generator when Alagie Conteh was the MD; that it took them a long time to acquire the said generator.
Mr. Corr disclosed that when he took over as MD, the contract of 18 megawatt generator was between Global Trading Group and the former Government.
At this juncture, he was reminded that testimonies revealed that the generators were not brand new. In response, he told the Commission that NAWEC was not represented at the testing of the said generators, and was told the generators were new.
Mrs Bensouda asked Corr whether there were other suppliers other than Global Trading Group. He recalled that there was negotiation between the former Government and Shell Company. He was again asked what the financial arrangements for the three generators were and he replied that he could not recall.
Mr. Corr informed the Commission that the contract between GTG and the former Government, was signed by the office of the former president and the Ministry of Finance. It was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that $10.8 million was paid out for the supply of generators, and that he signed the agreement for the rehabilitation of a plant in the Greater Banjul Area with GTG which was about $14 million.
Mr. Corr adduced that a French Company called Sodium was approached for the transmission of the plant; that they did the master plan for NAWEC which was a grant; that the agreement they signed with GTG for the transmission was dated 12th October 2001, which he witnessed, but that this was signed by Mambury Njie.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to him that $25 million, included $14 million contract and another $25 million from which $10.86 million should have been refunded to GTG. In response, he explained that he could not recall but there were payment schemes which were made by the former Government.
It was further put to him that Mr Conteh said the price of transmission was inflated; that this was the first time he heard about it. Again, he was asked whether he had the possibility to negotiate a price, and he responded that they discussed this during a meeting.
It was put to him that on 25th July 2001, there were minutes of meeting indicating that there was a $12 million budget which he confirmed. He was reminded that Mr Conteh said in his evidence that they were given international prices, and the contract ought not to have cost $8 million. But he said he did not agree to sign the said contract.
Mr. Corr replied that in 2001, they signed the contract with GTG and Mr. Conteh was not present. He was told that there could not be a standard price for a transmission line with GTG, and he responded that the office of the former president sent him a $12 million contract; that Mambury Njie was the then SG at the time.
He further told the Commission that he signed with GTG for fuel supply, and that this was due to circumstances at the office of the former president, who sent the contract to GTG to sign with NAWEC.
He was reminded that the storage capacity needed in Banjul, should have been resolved. He said there was a 3% mark-up for the price of a storage tank. He was again asked whether he ever dealt with Jammeh directly, and he responded in the negative, noting that he only dealt with the Permanent Secretary and the then Secretary General, respectively.
Mr. Corr informed the Commission that there was a letter from the office of the former president which he received in September, 2004, indicating that he was appointed GM of GNPC; that the said Company was newly set up at the time, so that he could help with the management but his services were terminated by the office of the former president because he wanted to go on leave.
At this juncture, a letter relating to his appointment as MD of NAWEC, was tendered and admitted as exhibit along with a copy of answers he gave to investigators.
He was also asked whether their partnership with GTG was strategic, and he replied that they only signed a contract for the supply of oil with GTG.
He finally informed the ´Commission that they were openly able to negotiate with other Companies, and this was why there was not much interference of the office of the former president.
Sitting continues today.