Bazzi claims owed by gov’t


By Baba Sillah

Muhammed Bazzi has raised a claim against the former government, saying his company is owed money for importation of rice.

Mr Bazzi who was continuing with his testimony before the Janneh Commission yesterday, said he raised the issue so the commission would know how his company was suffering but he has no intention to sue the government.


He vehemently denied paying money into the personal account of former president Jammeh as a form of incentive.
Asked by the Commission Counsel Amie Bensouda why he failed to sue the government, Mr Bazzi said it would be useless for him and has no intention to do so now.

Commission Chairman, Sourahata Janneh told him that it would still be useless to do so since the six-year period accorded to him to take action has elapsed and his document regarding the rice importation was rejected by the Commission.

Mr Bazzi also produced a letter he addressed to the former president concerning the difficulties his company was facing which was applied and tendered by the counsel as exhibit.
When asked by the Commission Chairman to read the content of the letter, Bazzi said he could not read it because of emotions and the Chairman asked the secretary to the commission, Alagie Kurang to read it out to the Commission.

After the letter was read out by the secretary, counsel Bensouda asked Mr Bazzi whether his projects with Nawec were cancelled as indicated in a letter addressed to him by the former president, and in reply, he said some of them were cancelled as threatened by the president while others were financed by his company.
He has earlier produced a bundle of documents in a folder such as letters and reconciliations with Gambia Revenue Authority relating to Euro Africa Group were admitted as exhibits.

He however promised to provide a resolution of financial statement of the company.
Mr Bazzi said his company was incorporated in March 2004, noting that the Ministry of Finance does provide the price structure of fuel every month and promised to provide the price structure of fuel from the 2004-2009.
On the Barajali ferry issue which the official of GPA alleged was destroyed by Gam Petroleum, Mr Bazzi produced six photos of the said ferry which he said cannot be considered as a ferry and handed over the photos to the commission to make their own judgment which were admitted as exhibits.

But before the photos were admitted, the Commission Chairman, asked Mr Bazzi who the ferry was delivered to before the photos were taken, in response Bazzi said the ferry was delivered to Gam Petroleum by Gambia Ports Authority, adding that the said ferry had no engine and could not float but was taken to ship yard for maintenance.

The Belgian-Lebanese business mogul also produced a letter of application for the land at GPA, which was leased to the Gambia Milling Corporation and was applied by Commission Counsel, Amie Bensouda as exhibit.

According to Mr Bazzi, Bilal Bazzi was his project manager who represented him in a meeting with the officials of GPA regarding the compensation of D18 Million for the land leased to the Gambia Milling Corporation but Bazzi said there was nothing like compensation of such amount.