By: Lamin Sabally.
As the Janneh Commission effectively closed its public hearings and begins to seclude to write its final findings and recommendations for submission to President Barrow, the lead counsel, Amie Bensouda in closing her marathon address revealed on Thursday that it was Muhammed Bazzi, a Lebanese multimillionaire bus inessman, who personally authorized the monthly payment of $500,000 into the private salary account of former president Jammeh. The salary account was domiciled at the Trust Bank and Lawyer Bensouda told the commission that for about a year, a total of D240 Million Dalasi was paid by the Bazzi- lead company for Babili Mansa.
According to the lead counsel, Global Trading Group had no legal presence in the Gambia from 2000-2015 and still amassed millions in profits in the country due to its business contacts with some State corporations, prominent among which were NAWEC and GNPC. Since its establishment last year, the Janneh Commission has been forensically probing the financial and business dealings of former President Jammeh and his closes associates and has called in more than 250 wittiness to give evidence.
In May 2018, the point newspaper reported that it received information from the U.S Embassy in Banjul stating that Lebanese business tycoon Muhammed Ibrahim Bazzi’s accounts in the United States have been frozen by the United States’ government. According to the point newspaper “He is highly believed to be involved in money laundering and sales of weapons to terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to Marshall Billingslea, the assistant secretary, Department of Treasury”