By Dawda Faye
Baba Fatajo, the Managing Director of NAWEC, today told the Janneh Commission that the company was never a party to the agreements made by the office of the former president and the Ministry of Finance.
Baba Fatajo and Amat Cham, the finance director of NAWEC, reappeared before the commission on matters relating to NAWEC’s MoU and contracts.
Testifying before the commission, Fatajo indicated that the government has started paying the liabilities, loans and bonds of the company as part of the 75% contribution towards the settlement of the company’s debts.
According to him, though NAWEC was not part of the instructions given to SSHFC, rather it was an instruction from the Ministry of Finance and the government for the loan given to the company.
Mr. Fatajo recalled that SSHFC has even filed a legal suit against NAWEC for the loans given to the company but the case was dismissed by the court on the grounds that NAWEC was not part of the agreement.
However, he acknowledged that NAWEC has also owed Global Trading Group a lot of money with regard to the contracts signed between them and GTG.
Mr. Fatajo, who reappeared along with his finance director, Amat Cham, further testified that there was reconciliation for the bonds between NAWEC and the commercial banks as well as the debt owed to GTG.
According to him, NAWEC has now hired a service contractor to restructure the company in order to make it more viable for investment, noting that the idea would enable them to have separate utility company for the supply of energy and water in the country.
Mr. Fatajo blamed the former government for its interference in the affairs of the company which he said had affected the company for the past years.
He testified that Annex two has given the liabilities of NAWEC, stating that the loans that are related to investment in the Greater Banjul Area are in their books. He further stated that the rural electrification and water sewage project loans were taken over by the Ministry of Finance.
He told the commission that NAWEC has a loan of D2.09 billion and that a sum of D7.3 billion was taken over by the government, stating that they are still working out modalities and government is paying the liabilities of NAWEC.
Further testifying, he adduced that the sum of D239, 000,000 which was ITFC loan was paid by SSHFC under the directives of either the office of the former president or Ministry of Finance, adding that ITFC has extended facility loans to the government.
At this juncture, Counsel Bensouda put it to Mr. Cham that according to the MoU, NAWEC owes D235, 000, 000. In response, he confirmed the sum and said it was owed to SSHFC.
Counsel Bensouda put it to Mr. Cham again that the commission did not have reconciliation between NAWEC and GTG. He answered that in their records, it was captured as the government of The Gambia and not as SSHFC because the government authorised SSHFC to pay loans owed by NAWEC.
He further testified that there was a sum of $50,000,000 reconciliation between NAWEC and GTG for heavy fuel which was paid by SSHFC.
Documents relating to NAWEC’s contracts were tendered and admitted in evidence.