Muahmmed Bazzi, a businessman under financial crimes investigation in The Gambia accompanied The Gambia’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia to Lebanon’s independence celebrations after authorities refuted his claims of being the West African nation’s Counsel General to Beirut.
Gambia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ousainou Darboe rejected claims made by Muhammed Bazzi to investigators that he is still the country’s honorary consul general to Lebanon.
Bazzi is part of those being investigated by a Commission of Inquiry looking into the financial activities of Gambia’s ousted authoritarian ruler, Yahya Jammeh and his associates.
His assets and businesses have been reportedly seized but it did not stop the new government of Adama Barrow from proceeding with a $20 million energy contract for the construction of a power plant.
Darboe said President Barrow in April rescinded Bazzi’s appointment, replacing him with Mr. Khalid A. Hammoud. But it was Mr. Bazzi and Ambassador Gibril Sallah that were seen representing the tiny West African nation.
Bazzi and Samba arrived in the same vehicle, a video from the newswire service Ruptly showed. The new video and contract that Bazzi has are sure to raise questions as to what is happening in the Barrow administration and if Mr. Bazzi is certainly right that he is still the Counsel General.
Bazzi is accused of getting contracts without following regulations and being part of those that helped Jammeh carry out shady deals that cost the Gambia billions, prompting authorities to probe and trace stolen wealth.
Barrow’s government in August revoked the diplomatic passports of Jammeh, his family, and so-called diplomats that were given Gambian service passports.
Jammeh ran everything from bakeries to farms during his long tenure and was regularly accused of taking over successful businesses for his own gain, as well as overseeing widespread rights abuses by his security forces, according to the new government.