By Mamadou Dem
The managing Director of GAMTEL Sulayman Susso and Access Bank Managing Director, Mr David Aluko, yesterday appeared at the ‘Janneh’ Commission to shed light on GAMTEL/ GAMCEL and other related matters, while the banker was summoned in relation to accounts opened by the office of the former president.
In his testimony, Suso gave a brief background of his career at GAMTEL and the various positions he held until his appointment as the highest authority of the institution; that Gamtel owns Gamcel and Gamcel is subsidiary to Gamtel; that Gamtel was incorporated in 1994 and at the time of his testimony, he does not have a memorandum of article. Susso informed the Commission that Gamcel is a fixed mobile operator; that International Gateway means all telephone traffic goes through the gateway, further stating that there is a Voice and Data gateway; that the voice gateway has not been liberalized, adding that the office of the former president was supervising Gamtel. According to Susso, Gamcel was setup in 2001 and Gamtel was managing the International Gateway starting with analog before coming to digital.
He said the international gateway used to be managed by Gamtel until 2006 when international gateway managers were invited; that in terms of technology Gamtel evolve from analog to digital switching; that at some point there was suspicion that the office of the former president was terminating traffic and Gamtel lost some revenue, adding that he did not discuss this with his staff. He said in 1998, Gamcel was the only Gateway Manager, noting that Spectrum came to acquire 50% shares of Gamtel / Gamcel. He told the Commission that Global Voice came as a result of the challenges in technology.
Mr. Susso revealed that Gamtel engaged Global Voice and the former Government sold the shares; that Spectrum took over the management of Gamtel for a year and a half; that Spectrum engaged Oratus during their management of Gamtel. According to him, Spectrum was given an ultimatum to leave the country, and that the international Gateway was given to System 1, whose services were later terminated by the office of the former president. Susso further informed the Commission that Gamtel took over from MGI and Global Voice and the Contract was signed in 2001 by Omar E. Ndow who was then the Managing Director; that in 2006 there was termination charges which was 20 cents / minute and in 2007 it was increased to 21 cents / minute, noting that a memorandum of understanding was signed by one Micheal Tenn. Mr. Susso narrated that the Oratus parties agreement were Gamtel and Oratus incorporated on 7th December 2007 but Oratus was terminated and System 1, who made an agreement with Gamtel on 7thDecember 2008 were based in Mexico. He explained that Tell International Came next for an agreement with Gamtel on 8th April 2011 and Gamtel also signed an agreement with MGI, ie service and management agreement. Documents relating to the MOU were admitted in evidence.
Further testifying, Mr. susso said an agreement for payment from Global to MGI was to be paid into Gamtel’s foreign account in The Gambia but did not know the payment arrangements for spectrum; that he does not know how much Oratus paid to Gamtel. He disclosed to the Commission that System 1 made a payment of $24,625,440.11 while Global paid $10,812,595.19; that TELL Payments from April 2011 to September 2013 was $18,642,287.60 further noting that there was a diversion of payment from the office of the former president to the Central Bank of The Gambia. Mr. Susso told the Commission that the former government wanted to terminate TELL contract but failed; that he did not know why it failed. He said they were at the mercy of TELL, further stating that TELL should not pay less but he could not verify this; that the diverted revenue never came back.
The Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. David Aluko, testified in connection to the office of the former president‘s account which was opened on 8th September 2014 of which Kalilu Bayo was the signatory. He Stated that the purpose of the account was for the purchase of a tent from Netherlands amounting to D5,000,000; that there was a transfer of D4,000,000.
Mr. Aluko told the Commission that there was supposed to be a Euro account and there was a loan which was not disbursed; that on 8th May 2014, there was a transfer of D2,000,000; that on 14th April 2014, there was another transfer of D1,610,177.50 to XL construction. Mr. Aluko stated that D2, 154,335 was transferred and there was another transfer to GTTI amounting to D235, 455. Documents relating to the account such as statements and transactions, were tendered an admitted as exhibits.
Sittings continues today.