Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Interim Order / Asset Freeze On Ex-President, Close Associates


By Yankuba Jallow

The Commission of Enquiry, set by President Barrow and commonly called ‘‘the Janneh Commission,” has issued an interim order against ex-president Yahya Jammeh and some of his close associates.

The Interim Order is in respect of the financial dealings of the former President and some of his close associates under his directive, had with heads of Companies, amounting to hundreds of millions of dalasi.

The Commission in its interim order identified Muhammed Bazzi and Amdou Samba as Directors as well as shareholders in the Euro Africa Group Limited. Fadi Mazegi, a British national, was also a Director but was not mentioned as a shareholder of the Group. Muhammed Bazzi is a Belgian who is said to have a share capital of 55% whilst Amadou Samba, a Gambian national, has 45% as his share capital in the Euro Africa Group. The Commission asserted in the order that Euro Africa Group Limited, was incorporated under the Companies Act, Cap (94:01), as amended.

Muhammed Bazzi and Fadi Magegi are identified by the Commission as Directors of the Global Trading Group NV. The Global Trading Group, according to the Commission, is a Belgian registered Company and Bazzi and Magegi are the majority shareholders.

The Commission in addition, issued that between June 2011 to January 2013, over two hundred million dalasi (D200,000,000.00) was paid by the Euro Africa Group Limited, into the personal bank account (salary account) number 11002037701 of ex-president Yahya Jammeh, at the Trust Bank Gambia Limited. It further stated that a sum of 2.5 million dollars was paid by Euro Africa Group Limited, into the former President’s Foundation account number 10701930502 at the Trust Bank Gambia Limited. The Commission clarified that in the statement of Muhammed Bazzi, ex-president Yahya Jammeh has no share interest in Euro Africa Group Limited and the Company was granted an exclusivity contract as sole importer of fuel into the Gambia, by the former Government, between the year 2004 to 2015; that the Euro African Group received payments from various Government Bank Accounts for services provided to ex-president Yahya Jammeh or his office, which amounts the order indicated, were public funds.

The Commission reiterated that from the evidence presented by the Managing Director of Trust Bank limited and from the Bank statements and transaction documents of the personal account (salary account) of ex-president Yahya Jammeh and his foundation Account, no legitimate explanation has been given as to the sums indicated, totalling over 10 million dollars; that the said amount was paid by Euro African Group Company Limited, to the personal account of ex-president Yahya Jammeh or his foundation, by Euro African Group Limited.

The High Court, according to the Commission has on May 22nd2017, frozen the properties and foundation and Bank Accounts of ex-president Yahya Jammeh under the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Act 2012. According to the release, in the year 2011, Global Trading received monies from the State Aircraft Account at the Central Bank of the Gambia for the purchase of State Aircraft.

Further according to the testimony of Fadi Mazegi, the transaction for the purchase of the state aircraft was not completed by Global Trading Group NV but the funds were used to settle debts owed by Kanilai Farms Limited, a Company owned by ex-president Yahya Jammeh or his family members and close associates and that the funds are public funds under investigation.  The Commission noted that Muhammed Bazi, Amadou Samba and Fadi Mazegi have been identified by witnesses as close associates of ex-president Yahya Jammeh.   

The Commission ordered that Muhammed Bazi, Amadou Samba and Fadi Mazegi, be restrained whether by themselves, their officers, servants, agents or any of them or otherwise howsoever, from selling, assigning, mortgaging, changing or otherwise disposing of any of their moveable or immoveable assets whether directly or indirectly owned, including land, shares, stocks, debentures or other interest in any of their Companies or business in The Gambia or outside the Gambia, pending further order of the “Janneh Commission” or the outcome of the “Janneh Enquiry”.

Furthermore, the Commission also restrained the aforementioned persons whether by themselves or their officers, servants, agents or any of them or otherwise howsoever, from removing from the jurisdiction, any of their aforesaid assets or doing anything that may reduce the value of the said assets pending further Orders from the Commission.

The Companies that the said persons are known to have interest in according to the Commission include, Euro African Group Limited, Global Trading Group (Gambia), Global Trading Group NV, Global Electrical Group limited, Premier Investment Group limited, MA Finish Profile Limited, MA Trafing Limited, Fedijjy Group Limited, Petrogas Company Limited, Excel Construction Company, Gam Water Company, Gamcem Company Limited, Gambia Milling Corporation Limited, Gambia – African Mining International Company Limited, Africa Middle East Investment (Holding), Gam Petroleum Limited, Gam Petroleum (Storage facility), Guaranty Trust Bank, Multi shipping Company Limited and Gamveg Limited.

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