Is the 2.2M Euro deal between Mayor Yankuba Colley, Mario Pratolongo a scam?

Is the 2.2M Euro deal between Mayor Yankuba Colley, Mario Pratolongo a scam?

The Kanifing Municipality Council signed a 2.2 million Euro (96.7 million Dalasis) contract with an Italian company, JMP to restore the Bakoteh Dumpsite. But this contract must be explained or be stopped. The KMC Mayor and the CEO of this company must give the public a clear account and access to contract details.

According to Mayor Yankuba Colley, one of the challenges faced by his municipality is waste management.

“The management of waste in general continues to be a major challenge for my council with problems experienced throughout the stages of waste management – from the collection point to the main dumpsite at Bakoteh,” Colley said.

KMC produces about 400 tons of waste a day and due to technological shortfalls, they found it hard if not impossible to manage.

The KMC has always failed in collecting trash that ends up becoming heaps of garbage. Businesses in Serrekunda Market and residents in neighborhoods like Marche Tayal complained of uncollected trash by the council. These heaps of garbage pose public health risks.

If KMC has 2.2 Million Euros, equivalent to 96.7 Million Dalasis, how come they do not pay the salary of their staff on time, sometimes for months? This is a council that finds it even difficult to collect trash.

Is there a development partner funding this project, is it a loan or has KMC decided to deliberately not pay staff and neglect its duties including trash collection and road construction?

Our analysis has shown there are many questions left to be answered. So many facts and details are being withheld by Mayor Yankuba Colley and his administration.

The KMC has signed such contracts before with other foreign companies. None of these companies, after signing of the contracts were ever seen again; talk less of the project being carried out.

Standard Newspaper quoted Mayor Colley in an unscripted, off-the-cuff remarks, revealing that for far too long the KMC has been duped by bogus foreign contractors who ‘come, sign contracts and go, and never to be seen again’.

But Mayor Colley expressed hope that this company called JMP Limited would be different. Colley said he has faith in JMP Company to deliver.

Interestingly, we found out that the KMC Mayor, met Mr Mario Pratolongo, the supposed CEO of JMP Company at President Yahya Jammeh’s 50th birthday celebration. The source of this information was Mayor Yankuba Colley himself.

“I just met them at the President’s birthday, and we discussed the issue of the project. That was May and here we are signing the contract. I believe they are committed,” Mayor Colley told reporters.

How can you meet someone at the President’s birthday and just handover 2.2 million Euros?

It has left us in our newsroom wondering and debating if those foreign companies that ‘come, sign contracts and go, and never to be seen again’ have decided to ‘come, sign contracts and go, and never to be seen again’. This time under a whole new name.

Our entire news team went to work, researched about JMP Company in Italy. Well, we could not find a record of the company, not one that deals in waste management. Not on the internet. That is very unusual for any Western company, especially one that signs multi-million Euro deals.

Is 96.7 Million Dalasis of tax payers’ money at risk of being lost to scammers, yet again? What kind of verification system is in place to check these foreign companies? Did they go through any, did KMC invite other companies local or international to bid in compliance with the GPPA – Gambia Public Procurement Authority Act and the Tender Board? Who even authorized this clear violation of regulations and the laws to be carried out by Colley if none of the above was done? Is Colley acting on his own and will he be charged for violating the GPPA Act and other financial control regulations?

Apparently, Yankuba Colley and his administrators have not learnt from the other companies that supposedly ‘come, sign contracts and go, and never to be seen again’.

We researched the name of the supposed CEO of this JMP Company, profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites came up. None so far looks like the image of the man we saw on Gambia Radio and Television Services. This has left us with even more questions, burying us deep in doubt.

However, we found a company called JMP. It is a subsidiary of a US-based company called SAS in Cary, North Carolina. They do have over a dozen international offices including one in Italy, but they do not deal in construction, recycling or waste management. JMP is a business unit of SAS that produces interactive software for desktop statistical discovery since 1989.

Well, just may be KMC is thinking ahead of us to use software to control robots to collect and manage trash at Bakoteh Dumpsite.

Children around Bakoteh dumpsite have been diagnosed with cancer. The children go there scavenging for scrap metals and anything they can find. It poses a risk to public health and the environment.

Yahya Bojang told a local reporters that he has children who were diagnosed with serious illness like cancer and that they are “always rushing to the hospital to check ourselves up all the time, because of the pollution.”

A genuine contract to rebuild the site should be seriously welcomed, but not when it seems to be 4-1-9, a big scam with no proper verifications made public of this contract by KMC.

However, Mayor Colley was able to get residents around the Bakoteh Dumpsite excited. They are delighted that it would give them a new start ‘after the rollercoaster pollution-inducing threats they had to brave, and the coma-inviting stench they deal with daily.’

Remember (United Africa Company) U.A.C Kingsway Stores in Wellington Street, Bathurst in colonial day Gambia. In 1953, UAC invested and opened stores in colonial Gambia. You remember that right or at least you know now.

Well, we decided to do a simple basic internet search test to see if we can locate them in modern day 2015.

Huh, we found that the United Africa Company (UAC) was a British company which principally traded in West Africa during the 20th century. The United Africa Company was formed in 1929 as a result of the merger of The Niger Company, which had been effectively owned by Lever Brothers since 1920, and the African & Eastern Trade Corporation.

In the early 1930s the United Africa Company was nearly reduced to bankruptcy and as a result it came under the control of Unilever, which had just been formed. Unilever had only been created from the merger of Lever Brothers and the Dutch Margarine Union earlier on March 3, 1929. The United Africa Company continued as subsidiary of Unilever until 1987 when it was absorbed by the parent company.

Unilever (Euronext: UNA, LSE: ULVR) is a British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company co-headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and London, United Kingdom. Its products include food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products.

It is the world’s third-largest consumer goods company measured by 2012 revenue, after Procter & Gamble and Nestlé. Unilever is the world’s largest producer of food spreads, such as margarine. One of the oldest multinational companies, its products are available in around 190 countries. A colonial company that once invested in colonial Gambia in the 1950s by using simple basic internet search leads to www.unilever.com still in existence with 2014 operating revenue of €7.980 billion (2014) and net income of €5.515 billion (2014) and 172,000 employees (2015).

Now, we are expecting Yankuba Colley or even Mr Mario Pratolongo to tell us when this JMP started, their past record and all. How comes we found details about a colonial Gambia company on the internet and nothing of such for a modern day Italian company that signs multi million Euro contracts – not even a website our fellow Gambians. Mayor Colley could perhaps help send us a web link of JMP company!

We might not be right; there might be a waste management company called JMP that does not like the internet and thus, we came short on our research but the burden lies on Yankuba Colley and the KMC administrators to provide us the company details for verification.

Yankuba Colley of KMC, Mario Pratolongo of JMP Company must give clear explanations or be stopped. This contract should not go any further whatever the case might be unless they openly tell the people everything that needs to be known and answer all questions, clear all doubts.

They must come clean as “KASANKEH.”

(Research by News Dept – Investigative Team, Writing by Sam Phatey, Additional Writing by Babou  A. Jobe)

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