Gambia’s foreign ministry has rejected claims made by Muhammed Bazzi that he is still the country’s honorary consul general to Lebanon.
Bazzi, a Lebanese business tycoon who has been doing business with country’s former dictator Yahya Jammeh, has been summoned several times before a commission probing the autocratic ruler.
Gambia’s foreign ministry said the West African nation’s new leader, President Adama Barrow in April rescinded Bazzi’s appointment. Mr. Khalid A. Hammoud has since been appointed the Honorary Consul General of the country to Lebanon.
Former top aides of former President Jammeh have named Bazzi as one of the closest associates to the ex-authoritarian ruler. Most of Jammeh’s businesses involved Mr. Bazzi.
Jammeh plundered an estimated $50 million before leaving for exile in Equatorial Guinea in January after 22 years in power, the country’s justice minister announced in May, promising a commission would trace the money.
Barrow’s government in August revoked the diplomatic passports of Jammeh, his family, and so-called diplomats that were given Gambian service passports.
Jammeh ran everything from bakeries to farms during his long tenure and was regularly accused of taking over successful businesses for his own gain, as well as overseeing widespread rights abuses by his security forces, according to the new government.
(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Additional Writing and Editing by Sam Phatey)