Onetime prominent Lebanese businessman in Sierra Leone and one of former President Yayah Jammeh’s closest associates, Mohamed Bazzi has been busy, over the past several days, testifying before a Commission of Inquiry set up by the new Gambian Government of President Adama Barrow to look into the assets and finances of the former Gambian leader.
Mr. Bazzi used his close affinity with the former President of The Gambia to influence the award of several government contracts including electricity and heavy fuel oil contracts to several companies he operates in The Gambia.
Mr. Bazzi was in 1999 deported from Sierra Leone by the former President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah for allegedly collaborating with the AFRC military junta.
He fled to The Gambia in 2000 and he is rated as one of the richest men in that country today.
One of Bazzi’s companies was in 2007 awarded a lucrative contract to supply electricity generating machines to NPA for close to US$30m (Thirty million United States dollars) when Haja Afsatu Kabba was Minister of Energy and Water Resources.
Another Lebanese business associate of the former President of The Gambia is Ali Joseph Charara. He owns TEL-Telecom and Spectrum Telecom.
Even though Gambia’s International Gateway was under State House control, Ali Joseph Charara’s company had a contractual agreement with GambCell to manage Gambia’s International Gateway.
Mr. Ali Joseph Charara is also expected to testify before the Commission of Inquiry in The Gambia very soon.
They are all accused of using their personal relationships with the former President of The Gambia, Yayah Jammeh to milk the resources of The Gambia dry.