By Fatou Sowe
Lebanese business tycoon Muhammad Bazzi has finally decided to testify about his financial and business activities with the former president openly before the commission of inquiry probing into the financial activities of former President Jammeh.
Bazzi reappeared at the commission and confirmed that he wrote to the commission through his lawyer to state his decision to withdraw the application to testify behind close doors, adding that after consulting friends, partners and family he has decided to put everything out plainly as he has nothing to hide about his safety and security for there is a new government in place.
During his testimony on the fund transfers he made to former President Jammeh’s personal accounts. On the payment of D14 million into the account of Jammeh in 2011, he said the money passed through him as it was a payment made by Ali Charare and he did it in order to avoid problems for Mr Charare.
According to Bazzi, the former president asked Mr Charare to be paying $500, 000 into his account every month after Charare’s company (Tell) was handling the country’s international gateways, which he said was neither a bribe nor an incentive but the commissioners can call it whatever they want.
He promised to provide the commission with all the documents about when and how his company Euro Africa Group exclusively started the importation of fuel into the country, however he denied having a monopoly over fuel importation noting that the price was determined by the ministry of finance.
He also appealed to the commission for him to call witnesses who may be in better position to shed light on certain issues surrounding his company. His request was granted by the commission chairman.
Next to appear before the commission was the former managing director of Social Security & Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC), Tumbul Danso who is also the current director general of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority [GPPA].
Danso was summoned to explain the payment of $1Million to the office of the former president as a loan. He first confirmed that the request was made during his tenure as the managing director of the corporation and that the request was approved by the board.
Danso said upon receiving the executive directive from the office of the former president, he wrote to his finance director for relevant procedures to be taken before payment. He said the office of the former president is not classified under investment policy as it is part of the government and the loan given to the office would not be classified as investment rather an intervention by the corporation.
According to Danso the loan was granted and after three weeks he was moved to the GPPA.