By Yankuba Jallow
Fadi George Mazagi, the current director of the Euro Africa Group, gave testimonies at the Janneh Commission of Enquiry probing into the financial and other dealings of the former president, Yaya Jammeh, on Thursday August 24 2017, at Djembe Hotel in Kololi.
Magazi told the Commission that he has dual English and Lebanese citizenship and is currently living in the Gambia; that Amadou Samba and one Muhamed Basir, are the shareholders of the Euro Africa Group in the shared proportion of between 45% and 55% respectively; that one of the functions of the Group is importation of petroleum products to the country and that the Company was incorporated in the Gambia.
The Commission told him that from records it is stated that Amadou Samba is the Director of the Company but he quickly dismissed that saying he was just a shareholder. In addition, the witness said he is also the Director of Global Trading Company and a shareholder; that he receives 25% as share capital whilst Muhamed Basir gains 75%; that Global Trading initially were not incorporated in the Gambia as a Company but were based in Belgium. He added that the Company was incorporated just a year ago and its principal area of operation is the energy sector. He told the commission that they built the Gam Petroleum Company in the country.
He said they are shareholders in the Gambia Mining Company (GMC) where they received 50% of the share capital of GMC and the remaining amount is taken by an American Company; that they received a financial deal from the office of the president to purchase 32 vehicles from Belgium for the Ministry of Tourism, for a sum of six hundred thousand (600,000) Euros; that the transaction passed through England who accepted up to over 30 million dalasi, converted to Euros, because it was not easy to transfer money straight to Belgium especially that of foreign currencies; that by the time of the transaction, the currency conversion rate was D51 (fifty one dalasi) to one Euro. “Six hundred thousand Euros was for the purchase of 32 vehicles,” he told the commissioners when asked.
He tendered a bunch of documents showing the transaction process of the vehicles including the invoices and were all admitted as exhibits by the Head of the Commission.
When asked to tender supporting tax evidence documents that the vehicles shored in the Gambia, he told the Court that in their transaction of the vehicles they were not involve themselves with the tax authorities meaning they were relieved from tax payment. The Commission still questioned him on whether he can tender documents of the delivery of the 32 vehicles or the person who received the vehicles on behalf of government but he quickly turned the question down saying it is not normal practice in business transactions for the selling Company to request for a deliverance of goods document. The Commission still pushed that since he cannot provide any tax and deliverance documents from the authorities or provide who has received on behalf of the government or any confirmation from the Ministry of Tourism, then his verbal evidence cannot be accepted. Mazagi responded saying “I am ready to comply to your entire request but I don’t know where to get these documents because it has been a long time, since the financial transaction has been done.”
He suggested that it may be the Office of the President who had received the vehicles because they were addressed to his office.
The Commission later requested for him to produce the memorandum and article of association for Euro Africa Group and Global Trading Company. He is asked to return to the commission on Monday August 28 2017, at 10am for continuation of his testimony.