NAWEC HEAVY FUEL OIL: A REPLY TO UNTRUE STORY ARTICLE PUBLICATIONS
In yet another surprised incident, your publication of June 13th, 2017 contained an article by (An Honest Concerned Gambian), making renewed attacks on Castle Oil. In the first instance, let me inform the public that everything written was unfounded, malicious in nature and wittingly untrue. To say that the article was fallacious is an understatement. The paid writer of unrefined English grammar and all those behind him are a type of disgruntled group of corrupt businessmen who dare not take official channels to complain, knowing full well their criminal actions they can only resort to outside media propaganda.
Suffice to say that Castle Oil is a credible first Gambian owned Oil Company, an offshoot of Toffik Massry and Sons, an establishment that has been in existence in this country for over a span of 120 years. Castle prides itself of employing many Gambians and paying regularly all its taxes dating back to its inception. Castle Oil cannot be engaged in dodgy business deals that is typical of EAGLE OIL of Mohammed Bazzi, Amadou and Tarik.
It is a truism that EAGLE OIL is primarily geared towards greed and exploitation of the Gambian economy, has done more harm than good to the economy of this country. EAGLE had taken total monopoly of oil import into this country for the past 18 years, at a point of eliminating well known International Oil giants such as SHELL, GALP, BP and TOTAL. Most Gambians will acknowledge that these companies have traded well and contributed immensely to the country in providing reliable high grade fuel oil supply to the citizenry. EAGLE OIL had cajoled all the avenues of better trade for indigenous Gambian companies to the extent that for over 9 years it has caused damage to Castle Oil up to 200 million Dollars by masking all avenues for Castle to trade in oil. This can easily be verified.
Notwithstanding, further to its commitment to making positive contribution to the Gambian economy, Castle Oil is diversifying its activities to include the supply of Butane Gas, thus making it more available and affordable to the Gambian people. The company has recently received delivery of750 Metric Tons (MT) of Butane by vessel MT SANTOS discharge Port of Banjul. It has booked six consecutive supplies of 750 MT every nine weeks to ensure no more gas shortage in the country. Given Castle’s recent involvement in gas supply, it will offer the lowest competitive market price in the sub-region including even the Republic of Senegal, our neighbours. Government should take note of this cheaper Gas being offered by Castle Oil so that lower prices can filter down to the general populace. Compared to EAGLE Oil, the company has been importing not more than 300 MT per month, making 26,700 MT in 8 years. EAGLE at one point was selling up to $2000 per MT compared to Castle Oil price of $750 per metric Ton. Hence EAGLE was making a profit margin of $500 per MT. The taxable income to government is $175 per MT. If this is applied to 26,700 MTs, it equals to $4,672,600.00 (Four million six hundred seventy two thousand, six hundred Dollars) of revenue not paid to government. Adding unpaid storage cost at Mandinari Fuel Depot of $10 per MT on 26,700 will equal to $2,67,000.00. Therefore, $4,672,600.00 plus $267,000.00 makes an overall amount of $4,939.000.00 due to government of tax never paid by EAGLE to GRA. Let EAGLE in denial show relevant receipts to these arrears failing which such arrears should attract surcharge of $4,939,000.000 as penalty payment. Gambian law further provides that any person who defaults in payment must pay a penalty of 10 times the actual amount payable. We count on GRA to take up this matter and recover these colossal sums in the interest of the nation.
Going back to the erroneous article under reference, it is suggested in the article that Castle Oil has failed to supply NAWEC the contract for Heavy Fuel Oil. This is but a figment of imagination. As facts speak for themselves, NAWEC in its own words during an interview with Mr Nani Juwara, the Deputy Managing Director of NAWEC, (The point Newspaper of 14th June 2017), Nani clearly stated that the problem of NAWEC is not fuel supply but “the engines that the company is presently operating were received in second-hand and they have been running for the past 16 years. Because of their age, efficiency has gone down and their cost for maintenance is very expensive”
Without any doubt, this lingering problem of NAWEC has a bearing on EAGLE OIL and the company is fully answerable. The public must know that it was this very company that had sold the old engines to government, purportedly as new engines when they were not. Furthermore, it is the same EAGLE OIL company that has been supplying poor grade oil of more than 3 per cent sulphur to run the engines. This low-grade oil happens to be the cheapest oil in the international market. The Bazzi group including Amadou Samba, Tarik Musa and Fadi Megazi must be held accountable for making every Gambian to suffer from constant electricity outage due to their callous attitude and money greed.
Allegations of corrupt dealings rightly belong to the Bazzi group. Does the writer knows that a Task Force by government in 2009, headed by Foday Barry of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) which employed the services of SGS to asses fuel product quality, gave a clean certificate to Castle Oil? Similarly, a Police Report in 2009 headed by the present Inspector General of Police Mr Sonko, to check into tax evasions of Oil Companies had completely exonerated Castle Oil of not blending petrol products at all times. This report is available in public and can be viewed by anybody for verification purposes.
The public wants to know what happens to PRIME BANK, an appendage of EAGLE OIL, established solely to facilitate money laundering in the country.
By making personal praise of itself in the article, “that some of these investors have American, European and Asian Partners”, inferring that EAGLE OIL is well connected and thus wanting to create a threat, this is nothing but a detraction. EAGLE OIL is of no other persons but Mohammed Bazzi and Fadi Megazi, who have no international partners except for their links with … groups. Let the authorities further know that EAGLE OIL currently has no License but is still importing Oil. This flagrant violation of the laws of The Gambia cannot go with impunity. Accordingly, all their imports are illegal and payment must be made to the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) of all other taxes.
Further still, the same group is known to be having more than 300 – 400 million Dollars of unpaid taxes to government. What is the GRA doing about this? Rather than EAGLE OIL “making appeal to government to let bygone be bygone”, is laughable indeed. Let justice first take its course before any bygone. In their admission of guilt by calling for bygones, let EAGLE OIL honour national duty by paying all its dues to government in the first place and they should be prosecuted for their dreadful economic plunder of the national economy. In this regard, I call upon the Gambia Ports Authority, GRA, and the new management at Mandinari Depot to asses all liabilities of EAGLE OIL to these sectors and demand immediate payment. Going still further, in accordance with the new government mandate, Bazzi and his cohorts need to be arrested and put on immediate trial in the interest of accountability to the Gambian people and justice for all. Selective justice is not called for in our New Gambia. As we writing this article it is well known that Mohammed Bazzi has been banned from entering the USA as a wanted suspect for aiding and abetting terrorism. Given this poor reputation internationally, one wonders why Republic of The Gambia should be harbouring a supposed criminal that would certainly tarnish the golden image of our country.
Letting Bazz, Amadou, Tarik and Fadi be free and roaming the streets of Banjul wittingly, in arrogance and defiance, given all the economic crimes these plunderers have committed, is not only unfair to everybody else but is setting a bad precedence to State machinery.
Lastly, whereas EAGLE OIL and associates despite all the wrong doings still have the audacity to be speaking out, we are at liberty to coming up with yet with more revelations of the havoc that this group has caused to the country under the protection of Dictator Yahya Jammeh. The Gambia has suffered greatly and these people must pay the price of destruction by arrest and prosecution. It is my national duty as a knowledgeable civil servant to expose all these wrong doings.
BY A CONCERNED CIVIL SERVANT
Editors note: The views expressed by the author do not represent the position of the Freedom Newspaper. Thanks for your attention.