Sunday, July 12, 2015

Why has Hussein Tajudeen not returned to Banjul after second "pardon" from Jammeh

Hussein Tajudeen
Hussein Tajudeen the Lebanese-Gambian business tycoon who was expelled from The Gambia first in June 2013 and then again last month by the government of Yaya Jammeh has been "pardoned" for the second time last 27th June.  He was expelled the first time around for selling expired chicken legs, according to the official announcement

The multi-millionaire businessman had been ordered to leave the country in early June for "unacceptable business practices that are detrimental to the Gambian economy," according to the press release from State House - an expulsion the regime announced last month that it has been "rescinded".

The announcement claimed that Mr. Tajudeen had agreed to carry out its business legally. But since then, the Lebanese-Gambian businessman, a close business associate of the Gambian dictator has not returned to The Gambia.

As the leading importer of rice, sugar and flour and distributor through its Kairaba Supermarket chain, Jammeh and his regime depend exclusively on Tajco, the flagship company, for the supply of these basic food items.

Without Tajco, the regime of Yaya Jammeh will be in serious trouble because there is no business entity in The Gambia with the financial capacity to fill the void should Mr. Tajudeen stop its operation in The Gambia.

The reason why the owner of Tajco is not back in Banjul may be because of the outstanding amounts of monies owed to him by the Gambia dictator who has relied exclusively on Mr. Tajudeen for the supplies of sugar, rice and flour which he distributes to supporters of his political party, free of charge.

The problem worsened to the point that Tajudeen used another Lebanese-owned business called A - Z company to order on his behalf.  The company encountered similar problems of non-payment of purchases made by Jammeh.  Faced with potential bankruptcy, one of the partners who authorized Jammeh's "purchases" sold his shares to his partner and  A-Z company was renamed REED Company.

The government continues to depend on Hussein Tajudeen, despite the accusation of being a supporter Hezbollah, a Lebanese-based terror group, extends far beyond the person of Jammeh to engulf The Gambia Revenue Agency (GRA) which is government's revenue-collection agency.  Faced with a huge budget deficit that is regularly financed by domestic borrowing, it turns out that the GRA has been forcing the Lebanese-Gambian multi-millionaire to pay its custom duties and excise in advance of actual consignments landed at the Banjul port in order to meet its revenue collection targets.

The estimated outstanding amount of money owed by the government is put at D 70,000,000 and this figure is said not to include the amounts owed by Jammeh which explains why the businessman is not in any hurry to return to Banjul.  After being expelled twice, he wants to ensure that doing business with Jammeh going forward will be on different terms and that a repayment plan on outstanding monies owed him by both the GRA and Jammeh is agreed upon.