By Baba Sillah
Another former member of the AFPRC junta Lamin Kaba Bajo was spotted at the Janneh Commission yesterday.
He is the third former member to be called to the Commission following Yankuba Touary and other so-far unidentified member.
According to sources close to the Commission, Mr Bajo’s name is included among witnesses expected to testify in connection with the Taiwan Loan granted to the Gambia during the junta’s reign in 1995.
Meanwhile the managing director of Gamtel, Sulayman Susso testified beginning with a brief synopsis of his career at Gamtel and the various positions he held until his appointment as the managing director. He said Gamtel owns Gamcel and it was in incorporated in 1984.
He explained that international gateway means all telephone traffic goes through the gateway, further stating that there is a voice gateway and data gateway.
According to him, data gateway was liberalised in December, 2012 when the ACE cable came into being but the voice gateway has not been liberalized still.
He told the Commission that at some point, Gamtel and Gamcel were supervised by the office of the former president.
Mr Susso further said Gamcel was set up in 2001 and Gamtel used to manage the international gateway until 2006 when gateway managers were invited, saying in terms of technology, Gamtel evolved from analog switching to digital switching.
According to the Gamtel boss, at some point there was suspicion that the office of the president was terminating traffic which resulted in loss of revenue for the company but he did not discuss the issue with any of the staff.
He said in 1998 Gamtel was the only gateway manager, noting that Spectrum came to acquire 50% share of Gamtel /Gamcel, adding that Global Voice Group also came as a result of challenges in technology.
He recalled that 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.
Mr Susso said Gamtel took over from MGI, and Global Voice contract was signed in 2001 by Omar E Ndow who was the then managing director.
Mr Susso narrated that the agreement between Gamtel and Oratus was dated 7 December 2007 adding that Oratus was terminated and System 1 made an agreement with Gamtel on 7 December 2008 and they were based in Mexico.
Mr Susso revealed that TELL International came next for an agreement with Gamtel which was dated on 8 April 2011 and Gamtel also signed an agreement with MGI on service and management.
Further testifying, Mr Susso said an agreement for payment from Global Voice Group to MGI was to be paid into Gamtel’s foreign account in The Gambia but did not know the payment arrangement for Spectrum and the amount paid by Oratus to Gamtel.
He said System 1 made a payment of $24,625,440.11 and that Global paid $10,812,595.19. He said TELL Payments from April 2011 to September 2013 were $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 said the former government wanted to terminate TELL’s contract but failed, and 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 it, saying the diverted revenue never came back.
Next to testify was the Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr David Aluko in connection to the office of the former president’s account which was opened on 8 September 2014 and Kalilu Bayo was the signatory.
According to Mr Aluko, the purpose of the account was for the purchase of a tent from Netherlands for D5, 000,000 and there was a transfer of D4, 000,000.
Mr Aluko said there supposed to be a Euro account and there was a loan which was not disbursed, further disclosing that on 8 May 2014 there was a transfer of D2,000,000 and also 0n 14 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 D235, 455 transferred to GTTI.