Former WAAPP Coordinator Continues Defence

By Rohey Jadama

Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, the former Coordinator of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP), continued his defence Sheikh Tijan Sossehbefore Justice Amadi of the special criminal division of the Banjul High court yesterday, 8 June 2015.

Mr. Sosseh took the court through several documents relating to the GEAPP project. He said the documents tendered during the bidding process include the consultant assessment report, designs, technical specifications, the World Bank standard building document and evaluation report.

“If you see some of these documents, will you be able to identify them and how?” asked his defence counsel Edward Singhateh. He said he will be able to identify the documents because he has seen them before.

M.B. Abubakar, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DDPP), said he does not think that the witness is in a position to identify the documents because the prosecution produced the documents and that they were thinking that the defence counsel will be tendering them through the bar.

Counsel Singhateh said for the sake of clarity, the documents are related to the accused as the Project Coordinator of GEAPP as most of them are addressed to him and that for this reason he is in a position to identify them.

The DDPP said in view of the clarification made by the defence, they can proceed.

Mr. Sosseh, the first defence witness (DW1), told the court that the documents are his working documents and that his initials are on some of them.

The documents, bills of quantities, the World Bank Bill of Standards, contract documents, evaluation reports, were all identified by DW1 and then tendered as exhibits without any objection from the state.

He added that some of the weekly and monthly reports prepared by the consultant were tendered in court and marked as exhibits. The photographs from the engineering company of the structures of the building before, during and after the completion of construction were all tendered and marked as exhibits.

When asked by counsel to explain defence exhibit 2 i.e. the bill of quantities, Mr. Sosseh said it was produced by the consultants Cityscape Associates and which was prepared for them through an assessment conducted at different project sites in collaboration with the staff of the ministry of agriculture and facilitated by GEAPP project.

DW1 said the bill of quantities is a prescription of construction work to be done, the items required and the cost. He said the process of the approval of the bill of quantities is that it is submitted to the World Bank for review and approval is done by the Contracts Committee through the GEAPP project.

Mr. Sosseh further told the court that the contracts committee comprises the ministry of agriculture, GEAPP, ministry of works, GPPA, NARI, Department of Agriculture, Cityscape Associates, and the World Bank task team leader and the Central Project Coordinating Unit. He said the GEAPP works under the Contracts Committee in terms of managing contracts and the tender process.

He said his role in respect of Defence Exhibit 3 was to facilitate and give them technical advice. He said Defence exhibit 4 is prepared by the Contracts Committee through the GEAPP. He said it is the World Bank that approves defence exhibits 2, 3 and 4. He said once the document is approved by the World Bank, the role of GEAPP is to follow those proceedings.

He said the weekly and monthly reports are submitted before the certificates. He said after receiving the weekly and monthly reports they (GEAPP, EU, Ministry of Agriculture, and the World Bank) used to go to the field each on their own to verify.

The case continues on the 30th June, 2015 at 1pm.