By Mamadou Dem
Mr. Baba Fatajo, the Managing Director of NAWEC, yesterday May 9th, appeared before the ‘Janneh’ Commission to confirm the sum of $15,686,000 as the cost of four generators that together produced a total of only 18 Mega Watts of electricity.
Fatajo was summoned in connection to NAWEC’s contracts and some generators bought by the Nation’s Utility Company, as well as other related contract agreements.
Prior to testifying, he gave a synopsis of his career at NAWEC, starting from 1993 till the time he was dismissed in 2013 and later reinstated in March 2017.
Fatajo told the Commission that from 2000 to 2001, NAWEC had a contract for the provision of generators with Global Trading Group which he said, was made in two phases; that this included the supply of generators G 7 and G 8 respectively; that in 2005, there was a purchase agreement between Global Trading Group and NAWEC for four generators (G1, G2, G3 and G4) to be stationed in Brikama; that in 2009, NAWEC got a leased loan facility for the installation of a Power Plant at Brikama; that they could not get the amount for a 30 Mega Watt generator.
He further stated that the first phase at Brikama was a 9 Mega Watt plant; that there was another contract between NAWEC and Global Trading Group for the provision of generators G5 and G6 respectively, which he said were provided.
According to him, NAWEC had a problem and it attracted an additional funding in 2009, disclosing that the installation of the generators was not complete. He told the Commission that they had a generator at Kotu (11 Mega Watt) whose construction started in 2016 and was co-funded by BADEA and OPEC; that this project was awarded to a consortium.
However, he said the other project was a 20 Mega Watt project funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and it started in February, 2018; that the contract was awarded in 2016.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda asked him whether Batchy Baldeh was the MD of NAWEC in 2001, which he confirmed. He further revealed that he deputized for the Generation Manager, Tijan Bahum, when he travelled.
Mrs. Bensouda further asked him whether they were involved in the implementation of contracts and that he was not involved in the negotiation of the contracts; that Mr. Muhammed Bazzi signed on behalf of Global Trading Group while Batchy Baldeh signed on behalf of NAWEC.
At this point, documents relating to the contracts were given to him and he went through them. Other documents relating to the commissioning of an engine, were also given to him to go through. It was put to him by Counsel Bensouda that the price for a total of 18 Mega Watts, was $15,686,000 which he confirmed.
Again, Counsel Bensouda informed him that there was an allegation before the Commission that some generators which were bought by NAWEC were not new ones, and he replied that one could verify with the manufacturer.
At this juncture, documents relating to some generators provided by Global Trading Group and other relevant documents, were tendered and admitted in evidence.
Mr. Fatajo was asked by Counsel Bensouda whether he was involved in the financing arrangement of the generators and he answered in the negative.
According to him, there was a shortfall in the budget as stated in the minutes of meetings, amounting to over $2,000,000. He was however quick to add that he had to establish whether the $12,000,000 was the actual cost of the project; that he also had to establish whether the project was funded by the Republic of Taiwan.
Mr. Fatajo further explained that a contract dated August 1st 2001, was signed between NAWEC and Global Trading Group for the importation of heavy fuel, and on the 26th of July 2002, GTG and NAWEC signed another contract and Mr. Muhammed Bazzi signed on behalf of GTG, witnessed by Mr. Amadou Samba, while the former Managing Director of NAWEC Mustapha Corr, signed on behalf of the Company.
He further testified that Baba Jassey, NAWEC’s Financial Director, signed as a witness for NAWEC; that there were other contracts dated July 2nd and 30th 2007, between the same Companies; that there was a facility from the ECOWAS Commission but could not remember those who were involved in the project.
Sitting continues on May 21st 2018.