(JollofNews) – Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of Thursday’s sitting of the commission of inquiry looking at numerous allegations of mismanagement of public funds, abuse of office, and willful violations of public funds by the former President Yahya Jammeh and his associates.

The first witness to appear before the commission is  Fadi George Mazegi, a private businessman based in the Gambia.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201711:09 am

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: What’s your name?

Fadi: Fadi George Mazegi.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Are you here in relations to EuroAfrica or to the summons you received personally?

Fadi: No. I am here in relations to the summons to the managing director of EuroAfrican group.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Did you receive a summons personally?

Fadi:It was not my name.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201711:16 am

Brief Background Info About Euro African Group

Euro African Group Ltd is private a petroleum product company in the Gambia.
The company, which is a major fuel importer, was founded in 2003 and is located at Standard Chartered House Building 16 Kairaba Avenue, the same building where President Jammeh’s APAM company was housed.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20172:28 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Are you the managing director?

Fadi: No. I am a director.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Who is the managing director?

Fadi: The managing director used to be… (missed the name) but he left the country in 2015 and since then we have not appointed a new managing director. I have been coming in and out to run the company

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20172:38 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Is there any reason why you have not appointed a new managing director?

Fadi: We have not got to it yet but I am essentially the one doing the job of the managing director.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:You have a general manager?

Fadi: We do.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Apart from yourself… you said you were director?

Fadi: Yes I am.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Apart from yourself, who else is director?
Fadi: Aah…. there is Muhammed Bazzey and myself. We are the directors in the company.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:You don’t have any other directors?

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20172:52 pm

Share Holders Of Euro African Ltd

Fadi: He [Amadou Samba] is a share holder maybe he is a director but he and Muhammed Bassey are the share holders. And the directors are myself and Bassey. I could be that Amadou is also a director.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Okay. You said Mr Muhammed Bassey and Amadou Samba are the share holders?

Fadi: Yes. Correct.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Can you tell us their shares individual?

Fadi: I believe it’s 55 per cent to Muhammed Bassey and 45 per cent to Amadou Samba

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20174:21 pm

Share Holders Of Euro African Ltd

Fadi: He [Amadou Samba] is a share holder maybe he is a director but he and Muhammed Bassey are the share holders. And the directors are myself and Bassey. I could be that Amadou is also a director.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Okay. You said Mr Muhammed Bassey and Amadou Samba are the share holders?

Fadi: Yes. Correct.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Can you tell us their shares individually?

Fadi: I believe it’s 55 per cent to Muhammed Bassey and 45 per cent to Amadou Samba

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20175:41 pm

We apologise for the delay in updating the page due to terrible internet connection in Banjul.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20175:41 pm

Continuation:

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: When was this company incoporated?
Fadi: I believe it was back in 2005 or 2004.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20175:43 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:What is the business of Euro Africa Group Ltd?

Fadi: The primary business of Euro Africa Group Ltd is the importation of petroleum products [into the Gambia].

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20175:54 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Only? That’s the only business?

Fadi: That is the main activities of Euro Africa Group Ltd. Yes.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: What are the other activities?

Fadi: It render services sometime to other companies. We have… there is a a global trading company in Belgium where both companies render services to each other. For example GTG, arranges finacial facilities to EAGLE [Euro Africa Group Ltd] with banks and EAGLe render services to GTG such as if there is any purchases in the Gambia then EAGLE will lend its services to GTG.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20175:55 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Okay . What does GTG do?
Fadi: It’s Global Trading Group.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Global Trading Group?

Fadi Yes.Which am the director of.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:03 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:The company is being operated from where?

Fadi: Antwerp, Belgium.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Belgi?

Fadi: Belgium

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Ah.. BELGIUM not Asia.

Fadi: No. BELGIUM.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: It is registered here?
Fadi: Recently we have registered it here because it is doing some projects here.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Who are the share holders of Global Trading Group Ltd?

Fadi: Muhammed Bassey and myself.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:12 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: In what shares?
Fadi: 75 percent Muhammed Bassey and 45 percent myself.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Okay. What business does Global Trading Group do here?
Fadi: It’s mainly in the energy sector. Webuild power stations, sub-stations, transmission and distribution networks and the procurement office for all our products Africa wide and in Iraq.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:19 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:What other business are you linked to?
Fadi: Am I linked to?

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:No. You are here with regards to Euro Africa Group. So when I say you I mean Euro Africa Group.
Fadi. Yes.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:21 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Okay. What other companies are you connected to?

Fadi: (Shrugged his shoulders)

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Gambian companies

Fadi: We are not connected to any company.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:25 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Do you have any other companies apart from Euro Africa Group?

Fadi:Euro African Group?

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Yes

Fadi: Euro African Group renders service to GTG. The two companies are not connected. They are not…. err.. they are two separate entities. Euro African Group is a Gambian company and Global Trading Group is a Belgian company. They render services to each other.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:34 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:They are connected as the majority share holders in both companies…

Fadi: The majority share holder in both companies you can see is Muhammed Bassey.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Yes. which other companies do you have that Muhammed Bassey has shares in?

Fadi: In the Gambia? Arrr….

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Or yourself?

Fadi:We are both…. ar… we have an offshore company which is a share holder in…. errr it’s a multi-shipping..errr agency and….. ar……. that’s about it as far as I am concerned.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:39 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Emmmm. Do you know a company called GANICO?
Fadi: Yes I do.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: That was one of your companies?

Fadi: That was a company that Muhammed [Bassey] was a share holder via and offshore company. He is a share holder in an offshore company which is a share holder in GANICO.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:44 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Is GANICO still trading?

Fadi: No.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Did you had any role in GANICO?

Fadi: No (shaking his head)

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: You did not have…?

Fadi: The previous managing director of Euro Africa Group was the director of GANICO, so me coming in from time to time as managing director to run Global African Group means I was also running GANICO. I was aware of the company’s business activities but I was not involved in the day to day running of the company.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:46 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Is GANICO still operating?

Fadi: Pardon?

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Is GANICO operating?

Fadi: No.It ceased operation may be 2013 or 2014.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:47 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:What about Gambia Milling Corporation?

Fadi: GMC, yes that’s the milling company.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:50 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Yes. What is the connection?
Fad: We are share holders by way of PIG, which is Premier Investment Group, where we hold 50 per cent of the shares and the other share holders are SEAB0RD, it’s an American company.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:50 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:Yes. What is the connection?
Fad: We are share holders by way of PIG, which is Premier Investment Group, where we hold 50 per cent of the shares and the other share holders are SEABOARD, it’s an American company.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:54 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Now there was a company called Section.

Fadi: Yes

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Did You have any involvement in that?
Fadi: Not at all.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20176:56 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Did you have any company under the period under investigation between July 1994 to January 2017. Did you have any company in the telecommunication sector?

Fadi:No we do not.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20177:00 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Did any of the directors of Euro African Group have any connection in the telecommunication sector?

Fadi: Not that am aware of.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20177:17 pm

Financial transaction between Carnegie Mining and Euro Africa Group

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Now two sums were paid from Carnegie Mining accountit to Euro Africa Group’s account..

Fadi: that’s correct

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: On 5th November 2013 and and 19th December 2013..

Fadi: Correct.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Respectively in the sums of thirty million, nine hundred and sixty nine thousand, one hundred and forty dalasis and One million two hundred and fifteen thousand, eight hundred and ten dalasis. Did Euro Africa Group receive this sum?

Fadi: Yes.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Can you tell us about these payments?

Fadi: These transaction was for the sale of vehicles which Global Trading Group, Belgium, sold to the Ministry of Tourism back at that time.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Ministry of..?

Fadi: TOURISM.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Do you have the transaction documents for the sale of the vehicles?

Fadi: Yes I do.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: You have them here?

Fadi: Yes

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: You have the original?

Fadi: I have copies of everything.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: You will have to provide us with the originals but we will look at the copies for now.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20177:48 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda:.. Alright, go on.

Fadi: Well… errr… As i said, Global Tradition Group was sent a proforma invoice for 32 cars…

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: 32?

Fadi: 32 vechicles, yes for the total of six hundred thousand Euros. Now as I said at the beginning of my conversation, that GTG and EAGLE render services to each other and since the payment could only happen in that in Dalasis, EAGLE decided to accept the payment in Dalasis and converted them into Euros and then transferred them to Belgium for these vehicles to be procured. So the amount was paid into the account of Euro African Group at the exchange rate of fifty one dalasis, the rate at the time. When we made the final exchange from Trust Bank, the final rate was fifty three point … sorry (looking at a pile of documents)… fifty three point sixty three- there was a difference in the exchange rate (closing the file). So we wrote a letter to the Office of the President to say that there was a difference of one million, two hundred and twenty one thousand, eight hundred. This money was later paid.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 20179:33 pm

Fadi: So the whole six hundred thousand was fully paid. Now, when Euro Africa Group got the amount, we changed the currency to Euros and transferred two portions. Five hundred and twenty five thousand was transfered to the dealer in Belgium and the remaining seventy five thousand was transfered to GTG for the cost of transportation etc.And I have all the documentation here to back it up.
Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Okay.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201710:09 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Thank you. Can you show what documentations you have. Just one at a time.

Fadi: First of all I have the proforma invoice that was send from Global Trading Group to the ministry of Tourism which highlights 32 vehicles at the cost of six hundred thousand euros.

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Was it exactly six hundred thousand?

Fadi: Excuse me?

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Was it exactly six hundred thousand?

Fadi: yes. Initially it was 33 cars but there was one car that could not be arranged so they revised the proforma to 32 cars. Initially the cost was six hundred and nineteen thousand for the 33 cars but the figures were revised down to six hundred thousand for the 32 cars.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201710:09 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Now do you have the proforma?

Fadi: I have both proformas.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201710:10 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Do you have the request from the Office of the President or Ministry of Tourism?

Fadi: No this is all verbal

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201710:11 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: This is all verbal?

Fadi: Correct.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201710:15 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Let’s have the proforma.

Fadi: (gives the documents to the clerk) This is the first proforma and the revised proforma.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201710:37 pm

Documents were admitted and marked as exhibits by the commission

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201710:45 pm

Lead Counsel Amie Bensouda: Mr Fadi, I note that these vehicles are designed as police cars..

Fadi: No the last two are police cars while the rest are normal cars.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201710:56 pm

Asked by a commission member who received the vehicles as there was no customs declaration records:

Fadi: I don’t know who received the vehicles. They sent as you can see on the bill of lading that the consignee was the Office of the President. So it must have been people from there who received the vehicles. It is not in my scope to find out who pays the customs once I shipped the vehicles and send the bill of lading.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201710:58 pm

Asked by a commission member who received the vehicles as there was no customs declaration records:

Fadi: I don’t know who received the vehicles. They sent as you can see on the bill of lading that the consignee was the Office of the President. So it must have been people from there who received the vehicles. It is not in my scope to find out who pays the customs once I shipped the vehicles and send the bill of lading.I have seen the cars physically in town.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201711:09 pm

Fadi: I don’t have written evidence that the vehicles were received but I know that for a fact if there was any problem or one of the vehicle had a scratch we would have known about it. So we will assume in the absence of anything to say otherwise that the vehicles were delivered.

Pressed again by the commissioner to produce a document confirming the delivery

Fadi: Make a request from who? To ask a document from who that they have received the vehicle?

Commissioner: Whoever received the vehicles from your side?

Fadi: From Gambia?

Commisioner: Where were the vehicles delivered?
Fadi: Ofcourse they were delivered in Banjul.
Commissioner: Exactly. Who in Banjul collected the vehicles and signed for them?

Fadi: I don’t know the name.

Commissioner: Then that means there was no delivery.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201711:26 pm

Fadi: (Protesting): When you are in such a sale, we are a trading company and we know that once you sent the bill of lading, the bill of lading is the title deed….

Commissioner: (cuts in) Did some body inspected the vehicles and gave you an inspection paper?

Fadi: No. These were brand new vehicles that were bought from Belgium and shipped to the Gambia. They were received in the Gambia we know that because we didn’t receive any complaint…

Commissioner: Who received them?

Fadi: Somebody from the Office of the President.

Commissioner: Did somebody from the Office of the President sign the paperwork acknowledging receipt of the vehicles?

Fadi: I don’t know.

Commissioner: It is not acceptable. We are requesting you to provide us with the evidence that you delivered the vehicles and somebody signed for them. It is a reasonable request.

Fadi: I don’t think that this is a reasonable request because we are a trading company and we know how things work. When you… when somebody buys something from you, you send them the relevant documents and they never give you a receipt that they have received the goods…

Commissioner (cuts in) this is a sales contract..

Fadi: This is not conversant in business trust me. Trust me on this. Nobody ever…

Commissioner: 32 vehicles enter a port without receipt of delivery..

Fadi: In a business delivery, once you send something the receiver never signs something to you to confirm receipt of the delivery. I wish things works in such order that we receive written confirmation of delivery to every order that we send. But what the commission is asking me is to go back to people I don’t know and ask them for some documents relating to a transaction done four years ago. It that a reasonable request? But what I can assure you is that if you do yur homework and find out whether these vehicles are received or not you will find out that they were received because we have done everything to make sure that they were delievered and we know that the vehicles were received in Banjul. So If you are asking me for the document, I don’t have the document and I am not going to create a document because I know that they were received and in good order. Do I have the document to say that? I dont.You want me to produce one? I don’t know who the revelant authority is now to give me something done four years later. So that’s why I don’t think the request is reasonable.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201711:47 pm

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh:: This company EAGLE, was it registered in the Gambia?

Fadi: Of course.

Jollof Media Network August 24, 201711:54 pm

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Do you have the registration document and article of incorporating?

Fadi: Registration of EAGLE?

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Yes and article of trading.

Fadi: Yes I do not bring them.

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: But you can bring them?

Fadi: Of course.

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Will you please bring then next time you come?

Fadi: of course.

Jollof Media Network August 25, 201712:00 am

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Who are the share holders of EAGLE?

Fadi: Muhammed Bassey and Amadou Samba.

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Who is the managing director?

Fadi: At this point we have not appointed any.

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Who was the last managing director?

Fadi: Who was the last managing director 2013?

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Of EAGLE?
Fadi: Malhall Ahaidat [or something similar. Not sure of the pronounciation] I said that in the beginning.

Jollof Media Network August 25, 201712:05 am

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: And do you have his letter of appointment as managing director?

Fadi: Yes but he was appointed way back in 2010….

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Yes, maybe you can dig it out.Surely it must be in your company archive?

Fadi: (nodding) you want the letter of appointment, that’s noted. And I have always been an executive director in Euro African Group taking part in all the activities. So, am not saying that I wasn’t. I am just answering specifically on whether I was the managing director or not.

Jollof Media Network August 25, 201712:08 am

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Now we come to the Global Trading Group.

Fadi: Yes

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Where was it incorporated?

FadI: In Belgium

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: And no where else?

Fadi: No. I said recently, we have to incorporate two projects in the Gambia because we are building two projects (electric power plants). But before that it wasn’t.

Jollof Media Network August 25, 201712:15 am

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: But is now incorporated in the Gambia?

Fadi: Yes, as we speak

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Okay who is the managing director?

Fadi: Of?
Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Global Trading Group.
Fadi: In Belgium

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: I am speaking specifically of Global Trading Group Gambia Ltd. Do you have the articles and memorandum of association?

Fadi: Of course we do.

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: Can you please bring it?

Fadi: Of course yes. It is registered under the brach office of the mother company.

Commissioner Surahata B. Janneh: That will be all for the time being.

Fadi: Thank you.

Jollof Media Network August 25, 201712:18 am

That’s the end of our reporting of Mr Fadi’s testimony. Thanks for being with us and for your support. Please don’t forget to donate to JollofNews to help us continue our coverage of the commission and other events unfolding in the Gambia.
Good night.