20 June 2018

Gambia: At the 'Janneh' Commission - 'NAWEC Was Operating in Terror' M B Jallow

Momodou B. Jallow, former Managing Director of NAWEC, yesterday told the 'Janneh' Commission that the Energy Company was operating in terror, under the former regime.

Jallow reappeared to shed more light on the testimony of Fadia Mazegi, the Managing Director of Euro Africa Group, concerning the Fajara Booster Station, among other related issues.

According to Jallow, the said place was renovated by Bazzi and his people who told him, that he was going to store some equipment for the former president's Royal Apartments project, which he wanted to build near Palma Rima Hotel; but that NAWEC did not sign any contract concerning the renovation.

He said he wanted to relocate NAWEC technicians from Half Die in Banjul, to the Booster Station because the building at Half Die was dilapidated and the sewage was not in order.

Prior to these testimonies, Jallow was told by Counsel Bensouda, that he was summoned to shed light on Fadia Mazegi's testimony on the Booster Station among others.

Reacting to Mazegi's testimony, Jallow said Magezi's this was not true because their management contract gave them (taskforce) absolute power over NAWEC.

According to Jallow, when Muhammed Bazzi approached him for the Booster Station, he (Jallow) decided to call the Chief of Protocol Alagie Ousman Ceesay, who later confirmed to him that the former president was aware of Bazzi's intention; that one Nabil Bazzi also told him that they wanted to have the place and that they renovated it; that he was not expected to sign the contract because it was a minor renovation. Jallow said he was then relieved of his post prior to concluding the renovation.

However, it was put to him that Mazegi had told the Commission that the taskforce was not in charge of the management of NAWEC. In response, Jallow said Mazegi was adding insult to injury, after all what had happened to NAWEC; that he could not understand why Mazegi should say something like that, and should withdraw the statement.

According to him, Bazzi and his group were in charge of NAWEC; that when it comes to NAWEC, it was Bazzi and the former president; that Bazzi was working with a brutal dictator, and when he (Bazzi) was around, he would receive invoices; that Bazzi was aggressive and that they were trying to salvage the Company by keeping it going.

The former NAWEC MD adduced that Nabil Bazzi was the logistic and procurement officer and they were paying the taskforce €50,000 per month, stating that they were operating in terror; Nabil Bazzi was engaged in projects, and would be with NAWEC and would also work with GTG.

Jallow testified that NAWEC used road tankers before they had storage tankers; that they used to pay $10,800 per day for the storage tankers; that a French guy in the taskforce was in charge of finance at NAWEC.

With regard to the Standard Chartered House meetings organized by Bazzi, he recollected that in one of the meetings, he had a problem with him when he raised the issue of the SSHFC generators.

He finally told the Commission that everybody was scared of the former president.

Earlier, Marie Saine-Firdaus, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, appeared before the 'Janneh' Commission in connection to Carnegie Mining Company.

During her testimony, she told the Commission that she is working with the African Union as a Senior Legal Adviser responsible for human rights abuses; that she worked in the public service in May 2000, at the Attorney General Chambers.

She recollected that she was appointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda reminded her that Carnegie Mining Company took an arbitrary action against the former Government. She said when she became Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Company was operating; that she was summoned at the Attorney General Chambers and was informed that there was a directive to advise the former president on whether the Company had acquired a license but they realized that there were procedures to grant a license.

According to her, Carnegie Company was written to as to what they were going to mine, as well as the quantity; that Carnegie Company replied and there was a delegation that went to UK for a meeting and was part of that delegation with former Secretary General, Ousman Jammeh, who gave an update; that after the meeting, Carnegie Company said they were going to comply; that the former Secretary General, Ousman Jammeh, had a meeting with the former president along with Bazzi, who came with other investors at the meeting.

She added that it was after a meeting that the license of Carnegie Company was terminated at the level of the office of the former president, as she was informed. She testified that the former president told her Carnegie Company should be taken to Court; but that she responded to him that they should not sue the Company but investigate.

She said they could not have access to the site and the DPP advised them that they could file a suit against the Company, noting that the security were sent to the site to secure the place and the Managing Director of Carnegie Company was arrested but he later jumped bail.

The former justice minister revealed that they took an inventory but is not sure about what was left at the site; but that she was informed of some stockpiles but she did not know how many they were.

Further testifying, she told the Commission that after the termination of Carnegie mining licence, there was arbitration against the former Government; that when the processes were received, they went through them and advised the former president as a taskforce.

She disclosed that they made recommendation to the former president but they never received a reply from him; that the former president said she was not with him, noting that the former president was not happy with her and was instructed to work with two gentlemen who came from Paris.

Firdaus revealed that she was able to get someone who was knowledgeable in geology and gave his opinion on the technical side. She said she was removed from her post.

She further explained to the Commission that she did not know Bazzi's role at the meeting held at the office of the former president; that Bazzi did not say anything at the meeting, further stating that they felt it prudent to settle the case out of Court.

According to her, Carnegie Company was out of stock and the CEO left; that the Company ceased operations. However, she said Bazzi told her to go through the contract because the investors were to start operation; that one Professor Strasser was the independent adviser to the former Government, and that the pressure was coming from the office of the former president because he felt that the process was too slow.

At this juncture, she was shown a copy of her statement which she confirmed. She stated that after they submitted the report, she was snubbed by the former president and felt that the former president did not have confidence in her.

She finally testified that the reason for the termination of Carnegie Mining licence, may be that the former Government was surcharged.

Sittings continue today.

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