Local Government Commission Hears Testimonies from Contractors Regarding Their Engagements with BasseArea Council

 

Two (2) contractors on Monday, 26 September 2023 appeared before the Local Government Commission of Inquiry on Monday, 25 September 2023 to explain their engagement with Basse Area Council.

The witnesses discussed the projects they were contracted to build by the council including the bidding procedures and stage of those projects.

Ebrima L.S. Marena, the owner of Alkamba Stores General Construction and Suppliers was the first to testify. He informed the Commission that he was awarded a contract by the Basse Area Council in 2022 for the rehabilitation of an old market by the riverside.

He said the sum for the project was Two Million Four Hundred and Eighteen Thousand Five Hundred and Eighteen Dalasi (D2,418,518).

“After I was awarded the contract nothing happened, I did not hear anything from them although I did some follow-ups, but nothing happened. No further steps were taken meaning the contract was never executed,” Marena said.

Marena said the market is still dilapidated. He testified that he could not tell while the project was not implemented. He stated that the documentation necessary for the project including the billing was all given to the council. He stated that on the 5th of March 2022, he received a message from the procurement officer Muhammed Jawneh which read: “Hello my boss, Good morning, and how are you and the family? Hope you are doing great. Yesterday we met as a contract committee and evaluated the bid submitted by the contractors therefore for your information after scrutiny Alkamba Stores emerged as the winner on Monday bye Jawneh.”

Deputy Lead Counsel Patrick Gomez said that is a “very informal” letter from the council. The witness answered in the positive.

He equally informed the commission that he was never paid any sum agreed because the project was not executed.

About the Alkamba Stores, the witness said his company is a sole proprietor company established in 2012 and primarily operated in Basse.

Another person who appeared before the commission was Ming Wang, he came on behalf of Longjiam Company.

He explained to the Commission that he is not the owner of the company and he is also not a shareholder. He said he was helping these companies during their contract with Basse Area Council as a translator since at the time they were new in the country.

He said these companies built bridges and constructed roads for the council and the council owes Longjiam the sum of Four Hundred and Fifty-four Thousand Three Hundred and Thirty-Eight Butut from the contract sum. He said when he went to the council to for the money, he was told the council did not have money.

Wang said the company has completed all the workworky were contracted to do.