GamTel chairman claims Swiss financer tried to defraud telco

5 Oct 2004

The current chairman of state-owned national PTO GamTel says that Befag of Switzerland intended to defraud the telco to the tune of USD3 million. Edrissa Jobe made the accusation at a state inquiry investigating a USD10 million contract between GamTel, Befag and German vendor Siemens. GamTel contracted Siemens in 2000 for a fibre optic backbone network between Basse and Barra. Siemens brought in Befag as financer for the deal with the Swiss company requesting that GamTel pay USD3 million upfront as collateral for the funding. GamTel claims that it made an initial payment of USD50,000 via the Standard Chartered Bank in November 2001, but Befag claims it did not receive the money. Jobe now claims that Befag banked the money and intended to steal the full USD3 million without fulfilling its side of the agreement. The chairman’s claims follow accusations made last week by Lamin Jabbie, GamTel’s legal officer, blaming the Standard Chartered Bank for not protecting the interests of the telco. The investigation is ongoing.