Emporium Refurbish Ocean Bay Hotel For $6.5 Million – Laly Diab

By Dawda Faye

Ms. Laly Diab, one of the proprietors of Emporium Constructions, yesterday told the Janneh Commission that Emporium renovated Ocean Bay Hotel to the tune of $6.5 million.

She was summoned in connection to a contract awarded to their company to refurbish and renovate the said hotel.

According to her, Emporium was invited by SSHFC to submit a bit for the renovation of the hotel, noting that she could not confirm whether the invitation was verbally done or written. She testified that Mr. Robert Aswanden was the consultant, further stating that they corresponded with him (Aswanden).

At this juncture, she was given some documents to peruse, which she did. She confirmed that the documents were the correspondences she sent to the consultant. The said documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Counsel Batchilly asked her whether she knew the circumstances that led SSHFC to invite Emporium to submit bids, and she answered in the negative. It was put to her that after Emporium submitted a bid, it was invited to make proposals. She then responded in the positive.

Ms Diab told the commission that Mr. Amadou Samba was the board chairman, adding that she was instructed to attend a meeting with him. She went on to say that she and Mr. Samba have friendly relationship.

Counsel Batchilly told her that she was asked to produce some documents, such as contracts.  She responded that she did not bring them along because she could not find them.

The businesswoman informed the commission that the cost of the contract for the renovation of the hotel was $6.5m; adding that the company signed the contract with SSHFC and that the contract was after February, 2003.

At this juncture, she was asked whether before the contract Emporium carried out any major project. In response, she said they did not do any contract before the one they had with SSHFC.

According to her, the company was incorporated the year they were awarded the bid, further stating that they did a complete refurbishment of the hotel. She adduced that the cost of the variation which was added on the contract cost was to the tune of $1,053,837.

Document relating to the variation sum was tendered and admitted as exhibit. She was asked whether she could recall the additional works Emporium did, but she said she could not remember.

It was put to her that they did not deliver on time but insisted that they did. At this juncture, she was given some letters to go through, which she did.  The said letters were tendered and admitted in evidence.

She revealed that the contract was the biggest contract they ever had.

Ms. Diab told the commission that the company completed all the works; adding that she made a statement to the investigators which she endorsed. The said statement was also admitted in evidence.

The commission resumes today.

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