Monday, September 25, 2017

How Mohamed Bazzi and Amadou Samba deprived the Central River Region (CRR) of ferry services

Ferry Niani at Barajally Ferry crossing 
The Commission of Inquiry investigating the illicit wealth of Yaya Jammeh revealed how the former Gambian dictator and his business partners - namely Muhammed Bazzi and Amadou Samba - colluded to deprive the people of the Central River Region, of one of their two ferry services for the sole purposes of advancing their own business interests.

Amadou Samba 
Testifying before the Commission, the Managing Director of the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) explained how his agency received a letter from the Office of the President instructing them to 'deliver' the ferry "Barajally" to GAM-PETROLEUM, a company that owned the Mandinari petroleum depot under construction at the time.

GAM-PETROLEUM and EURO-AFRICA Group are two companies among many that list Muhammed Bazzi and Amadou Samba as shareholders.  And like other  Bazzi/Samba companies doing business in The Gambia such as GAMVEG, their corporate identities have been used interchangeably which has caused confusion to the general public as well as some government officials.  Whether it is by design is anyone's guess.                                                                                                                                                
Mohammed Bazzi 
During his testimony, the Managing Director of GPA revealed that they received a letter from the President's Office directing them to "deliver" the ferry "Barajally" to the GAM-PETROLEUM team of Messrs. Bazzi and Samba to be converted to a "work boat" for use in the building of the Mandinari fuel depot - a private venture with controlling shares by private investors.

Although Amadou Samba has sold his 9.9% shares, as far as we can ascertain Mohammed Bazzi (30.8%), Fadi Mazzegi (10.3%) and Premier Investment Group (1%) are still clinging to their shares although Mr. Bazzi and his business partners have lost their monopoly status for the importation of petroleum and petroleum products.

As soon as the "Barajally" was handed over to GAM-PETROLEUM - over the protest of the GPA - the vessel was chopped up to be modified into a "work boat" at the Mandinari terminal according to the Managing Director and could no longer be used for its original purpose of transporting people and vehicles from one half of the country to the other, depriving an entire section of the CRR.  According to an unconfirmed source,  the village of Barajally has been without ferry service since GPA lost it to GAM -PETROLEUM in June 2007.

After losing the battle to retain ownership, GPA valued the vessel at D 16,500,000 before demanding payment from GAM-PETROLEUM on two occasions - both of which were ignored by the owners of the Mandinari fuel depot.