By: Binta Bah
Mr. Baba Fatajo, the Managing Director of NAWEC, Tuesday reappeared before the Janneh Commission to explain some wide ranging issues surrounding the power company.
Prior to his testimony, Counsel Amie Bensouda applied to tender documents relating to NAWEC’s contracts produced by the witness to form part of the exhibits. According to Mr. Fatajo, he came in contact with Global Trading Group (GTG) when the IPP was being installed at the Brikama Power Plant, noting that there was power outage which warranted for Mr. Abdou Jobe and Tijan Bahoum to be whisked away by the NIA to Mile II.
He said Mr. Bazzi invited the senior management of NAWEC for a meeting in his office at Standard Chartered House where he told them that he (Bazzi) had no hand in the power outage and advised them to be patriotic and that there would be zero tolerance and whoever was found wanting, would face the consequence. However, he said one of their members from NAWEC responded to Bazzi that no one could tell them to be patriotic because they did not have a second home like him. He confirmed that the meeting was held before the management contract; adding that it was in 2006 when the contract was completed. He said they knew that Mr. Bazzi was close to the former president and that something was on the offing. Mr. Fatajo testified that the power purchase agreement with Global Trading Group (GTG) was to provide four generators but the guarantee was 22 Mega Watts. However, it was put to him by Mrs. Bensouda that Mr. Alagie Conteh said in his evidence that the price was that of used generators.
In response, he told the commission that the capacity charged was high noting that the price of fuel kept changing. He said they had half of the capacity available since the guarantee was 22 Mega Watts. He further adduced that the purpose would have been defeated if they could not provide the volume of electricity required; adding that the relationship between the Bazzi Group and the former president was difficult to tell.
According to him, the two generators under the contract were unreliable and the maintenance was not adhere to further stating that GTG was more of a player and a referee. Mr. Fatajo added that they decided to have an assessment of the generators and they officially took over the operation of the plant in 2013. He testified further that there was a letter from the Office of the Former President asking them to suspend the capacity for two years.
He further stated that there was an agreement between GTG and the former government to handover to NAWEC, further stating that they took the entire plant and on the 5th November, 2015, there was transfer of ownership.
At that juncture Mr. Fatajo revealed to the commission that taking over the GTG and the Power Plant facilities from the Bazzi group was a disaster for NAWEC. He said there were observations by NAWEC’s MD that the company had some risks, adding that there was intervention by the former government.
By: Binta Bah