Gambia’s government has proceeded to award a $20 million power plant development to a company associated with the former President Yahya Jammeh.
The company, Global Trading Group belongs to Jammeh’s business associates, whose assets were frozen by a Commission probing the financial activities of the ex-ruler.
Jammeh’s business partners, Mohammed Bazzi, Amadou Samba and Fadi George Magazi own the company. Magazi was in the administrative city of Brikama, where a ceremony was held with Vice President Fatoumata Tambajang for the construction of a new power station.
Bazzi and Magazi have filed a joint litigation against the Janneh Commission, accusing them of stretching their powers by seizing their assets.
The company, Global Trading Group is among those companies with Euro Africa Group that have been majorly cited in corrupt practices linked to Jammeh.
The company bought airplanes, vehicles and other goods for Mr. Jammeh and were awarded contracts without following procurement regulations.
Bazzi and Magazi are also involved in the annexing of a land from Gambia Ports Authority and the use of state-owned equipment, including a ferry without paying for services.
Their companies, Global Trading Group and Euro Africa Group were also involved in mining. They allegedly used tools forcefully taken from Carnegie Minerals and shipped tons of illegal minerals for Jammeh. They are also suspected of tax evasion.
The companies were transferring millions into Jammeh’s accounts. Their directors claimed they could not recall if such transactions were made and for what purposes.
“Although this is only the beginning of a sad and treacherous story, we have learned enough to wrestle our country from a group of unscrupulous businessmen who exploited the greed and heartlessness of Yaya Jammeh to rape our country,” said economist and ex-foreign minister, Sidi Sanneh.
The monies that were given to companies associated with Bazzi, Samba and Magazi were taken from government accounts, including the Central Bank without a paper trail or due process.
“Beyond anything we’ve experienced lately, nearly everything that involved Jammeh associates — Muhammed Bazzi , Fadi Magazi and his Euro Africa groups entered with the Government, however defined, either ends up in hefty law suit, loss of capital, stranglehold public institutions’ funds or better still their efforts does not remedy the problem at hand,” said activist Amie Njie.
Gambia’s Justice Department said it was reviewing all contracts given to companies by Jammeh’s government. The review has apparently not affected Bazzi, Samba, and Magazi, who were also seen launching a hospital project with President Adama Barrow.
The Global Trading Group has claimed it is owed more than $65 million by NAWEC, Gambia’s state-owned energy company. Mazagi told the Janneh Commission that heavy-duty fuel supply to NAWEC was cut off after the company could not pay it past due bills.
The wary business deal has left Jammeh’s associates owing some $40 million dollars to several local commercial banks and at least $25 million to French oil firm, Total.
Jammeh gave Euro-Africa and Global Trading groups exclusive rights to supply NAWEC with electricity and gave direct orders to have monies withdrawn from these companies.
The GTG built the first power plant on the outskirts of Brikama. The ownership of the Brikama power plant is now in question. A highly placed energy ministry official said, Jammeh used state money to build the plant but had it on paper that it was funded by the Global Trading Group.
Although Jammeh and his associates claimed that NAWEC has been supplied with new generators, the company’s new Managing Director Baba Fatajo said generators were more than 30 years old, explaining why the company is unable to meet energy demands.
NAWEC is struggling to meet the electricity demands of the Gambian population and economy. The country entered an agreement with Senegal to supply additional power.
Jammeh is suspected to be holding shares through his associates, who are now unable to show paperwork on some transactions ordered by Mr. Jammeh to the Commission probing his financial dealings.