The damning quid pro quo bribery scandal allegedly involving the Kanifing Municipal Council Deputy Mayor Pa Musa Bah, has taken a new twist, with Echotech’s Tanzanian born business partner Renson Ricky Renson, making disturbing revelations regarding the joint business venture that his company Source Nets has reached with Farimang Max Manneh’s Ecotech company, Freedom Newspaper can report. Source Nets is the digital company that is handling Ecotech’s waste ticketing contract with the KMC. But according to Mr. Renson, the KMC, under the leadership of Talib Bensouda, has been kept out of loop, as Ecotech, hasn’t informed the KMC in writing that his company is providing the financial digitalization services on behalf of council through Ecotech.
“Let me tell you, let me make things clear, we went to Gambia to digitalize the revenue collection in Gambia. Ecotech is a local partner in Gambia. For us, we provide solution, technical solution, which is the software and also, we supply the devices through Ecotech. My company which is Source Nets is a separate entity through Ecotech. So, we provide the solution through Ecotech and then Ecotech engages themselves through the government or any kind of business that they prefer, they can come to us and ask we provide the technical solution,” Mr. Renson told Freedom radio Gambia on Wednesday during an exclusive interview.
Renson was introduced to Ecotech by Gaston, his fellow Tanzanian countryman. Gaston is the Chairman of Ecotech. He is Farimang Manneh’s co-business partner. This was the guy, the KMC Deputy Mayor, had allegedly solicited bribe from. But Max Manneh has denied the allegations. He said his company hasn’t bribed any KMC official.
“We have a working Joint Venture Agreement between Ecotech and Source Nets. We agreed to work together to provide solutions to the Kanifing Municipality, but there a lot of issues, a lot of games and all that from Ecotech and that was not how it was supposed to be, so, Ecotech, went itself draft the contract with the Kanifing municipality, Ecotech are the ones responsible for the Kanifing municipality for the revenue collection as of now and they are the one, who acquired the contract. For us, with Kanifing municipality, we are out of the game. We just provide the solution to Ecotech and then Ecotech engages themselves. But we look at the joint venture agreement, it is supposed to be worked together but it was never that way,” said Renson.
Renson said he hasn’t been paid a dime for the past two years, even though Ecotech, has been using his company’s machines to provide services to the KMC. His company issues waste disposal tickets to the KMC, through Ecotech.
When asked why he hasn’t been paid, Renson had this to say:
“I don’t know why. We have tried to be patient, we have tried to be very good, I can say we worked with them under very good will. I went to Gambia, I have spent almost two years right now, but until now I have not get any single cent from the business. I provided the devices, which are the machines, which cost a lot of money, I provided the software, and I also provided the technical expertise. I even came with some people from Tanzania to Gambia, but I think, I don’t know how I can say it, maybe my partners were smarter than me, that they could respect the joint business agreement, yeah, but that is how it is. They wouldn’t like to respect the joint venture, but we have tried to discuss with them so many times, even when I am here in Tanzania, I have tried to call them so many times so that we can put things together. I can say that it has been rough road to my company in The Gambia.”
However, Renson’s business partner Farimang Manneh, has told this medium in an earlier interview that he (Farimang Manneh) has received a payment of D450,000 dalasis from the KMC. But Renson said he wasn’t aware of the said payment. He got to know about it through a Freedom Newspaper publication.
“Even me I was wondering. From the article, it reads like KMC paid Ecotech, but I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that they were paid,” he said.
“I am not aware of that payment at all. I am not aware. I even tried to some a lot of effort. Even a week ago, I texted Farimang that if there is any money that they received from KMC, but they told me, they are still waiting,” he added.
According to Renson, he has access to the KMC financial information, including the council’s daily revenue collection that has been generated from the waste collection contract. He added that he has access to the cloud servers storing the council’s financial information.
“From our system, we can see the transactions for the municipal council, we can see all the transactions, what is collected from the ground and all that in real time. That’s the only thing that I know, but that remains the property of the municipality according to the agreement that I saw between Ecotech and the Kanifing municipality,” he stated.
Renson noted that under normal circumstances, Ecotech, ought to have disclose to the KMC about their involvement in the ticket issuance project and the level of access that they had when it comes to the council’s financial data information.
When asked how much revenue the KMC was generating daily from the waste collection project, Renson said due to privacy issues, he cannot disclose that type of information to the media.
“That one I cannot disclose, I think that you can get it from the KMC. I have the information, but it is not my data,” he said.
Further quizzed as to whether he was aware of the implications of Ecotech’s move to subcontract KMC’s financial data information to a company that council doesn’t know, Renson, in response said:
“I am aware of the implications. I fought for that, I tried to push it that way, and we have a meeting with the CEO, of Kanifing onetime and we discussed it. I even tried to, really, they should recognize us, even my lawyer did told them like that. He told Max and Gaston, like KMC, they should be aware of that.”
Renson said it was Ecotech that refused to make such information to be known to council. He said even his Tanzanian lawyer has advised that Ecotech should inform council about their involvement in the contract, but Ecotech wouldn’t heed.
“They didn’t want to do it that way,” he said.
When asked how much he has spent to finance the operations of Ecotech in The Gambia, Renson had this to say:
“If I quantify it, we are not talking about less than two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000 dollars). It has been two years I have not received any money from Ecotech. I have not receive any money. I am supposed to go to The Gambia by the end of the month. I am supposed to go there to solve this issue.”
Reacting to Gaston’s claims that he (Gaston) came to The Gambia with half a million dollars as an investor, Renson has described such claims as false and totally unfounded.
“I don’t believe that because if he came with such amounts, then why was I supposed to bring the all the devices and all the resources from outside,” he said.
“That’s not true, that is not true, that one I will stand for it, that’s not true. Financial we have been struggling and Source Nets has been providing the things, the devices and everything,” he added.
When asked about his views on Farimang Max Manneh’s personality, Renson, said:
“I will describe him as a good person, who has a very good intention, maybe he is being mislead by some of the people surrounding him, but I will describe him as a very good person, because I stayed him for almost one year and half.”