Muhammed Bazzi faces Commission again

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Muhammed Bazzi, a Lebanese multimillionaire businessman, yesterday reappeared before the Commission of Inquiry that looks into the assets and financial transactions of former President Yahya Jammeh.

He was asked about a resolution for the financial statement of Eagle Board before 2009, to which Bazzi said he was not sure whether there was Eagle Board resolution.

He adduced that the petroleum contract with Euro Africa Group started in March 2004.

When asked whether he had a document to show that Euro Africa Group started business in March 2004, Bazzi replied that he would check his records.

Further asked about the petroleum price structure, he said, he has to get back to the Ministry of Finance for information.

The Lebanese businessman said the price of oil before 2009 was not accurate, but he could provide the commission with the accurate figure for the price of oil.

He testified that some of the documents he brought along were not complete and then asked for more time to provide the commission with the complete documents.

Asked about the Special Security account, Bazzi said he had sent it to the commission, adding that he wanted to show the commission pictures of the Barajally ferry, which he said “was sinking into the sea”.

At this juncture, he submitted the pictures but was asked to number and sign them.

It was then put to him that it was only one picture which was dated among the ones he submitted to the commission.

The said pictures were then tendered and admitted, since he relied on them.

He further testified that the ferry was delivered to Gam-petroleum.

When asked whether he had to alter the ferry to serve the purpose, for which it was given, he said they had repaired it because it was damaged and it did not have an engine.

He was later asked about a land, for which an application was made for the Gambia Milling Corporation. He responded that the land in question was leased to the Gambia Milling Corporation by the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA).

At this juncture, he was referred to a letter, dated 28 March 2011, addressed to the GPA about compensation of D18, 460,000.

He said that his representative did not agree for the compensation to be paid to GPA, adding that they had to raise the land for the flour mill.

Mr Bazzi adduced that it was only one land which was leased to his company but not two.

It was put to him that there was no letter to show that consent had been received to lease the land from GPA, but he said he would look for the letter.

It was also put to him that GPA did not give consent for his company to lease the said land, but he said they did so.

It was again put to him that he claimed that the former government owed him $5,000,000, and he did not sue them to court. He posited that it was a waste of time.

Bazzi was then told that he said it was a waste of time to sue the former government to court; and it was also a waste of time to tell the commission about his claims against the former government, because there was a limit to sue the former government since his claim was a period of six years.

Mr Bazzi was claiming for the payment of rice he brought to the country, “after spending a lot of money.”

He said he suffered for doing business in in The Gambia, but he continued the business because he had no choice.

At this juncture, a letter he wrote to the former president was read to the commission by the secretary, and the one the former president had written to him, authored on his behalf by Njogu Bah.

Author: Dawda Faye
Source: Picture: Muhammed Bazzi