Liberian Presidential Adviser Threatens Weah Critics

Monrovia, Liberia – March 25, 2019: An Ivorian national in the orbit of Liberian President George M. Weah is threatening a talk show host and Liberian opposition member and good governance advocate on social media.

Ousman Bamba’s Facebook Posts

In a Facebook post seen by West African Journal Magazine over the weekend, Ivorian businessman, politician and Liberian Presidential advisor Ousmane Bamba wrote the following in French under a video presentation of Darius a Dillon: “Henry Costa et touts des petit garçons. Cos n’etespas use menace pour le President du Liberia.”

Radio Talkshow Host Henry Costa

English Translation: “Henry Costa and all the little boys. Your days are numbered. You are not a threat to the a President of Liberia.”

In a second post under the same name of the poster which was automatically translated into English, Ousmane Bamba writes, “You should be grateful to have King George Weah at the position of a President, instead of being hateful. as Ivorian, I wish a George to be president of cite d’Ivoire.”

Second Facebook Post of Ousmane Bamba

Mr. Bamba’s threatening posts have drawn wide condemnation among some Liberians across social media platforms.

Who Is Ousmane Bamba?

Facebook Profile of Ousmane Bamba

In his social media profile, Bamba says he works for the Government of Liberia, lives in Monrovia and is from Abidjan,Cote d’Ivoire He does not indicate what portfolio he occupies as an employee of the Liberian Government but has photos of himself: in a suit and the national colors Côte d’Ivoire and one dressed in white traditional outfit and cap and seated on the left next to President George M. Weah.

Ousmane Bamba

West African Journal Magazine has been looking into the Ivorian businessman’s past in his native Côte d’Ivoire.

In 2016, Ousmane Bamba, a member of the ruling Rally of the Republicans (RDR) political party of President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, tried to challenge the establishment when he contested a legislative seat as an independent to represent Lomokankro, Molonou, Tiébissou and Yakpabo-Sakasou political districts.

He is a former Mayor of Tiebissou and a party Secretary of that area but was suspended after he made his independent bid for the Ivorian Legislature in a December, 2016.

His known desire to settle some past political and economic scores against “perceived enemies” in the ruling establishment sank his chances to become a legislator.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattarra

It is a known fact that President Ouattara is a “close friend” of former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who had been indicted in the Final Report of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and was at risk of potential prosecution if Weah came to power.

Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

So any known associates of Weah, including Bamba, were not not seen in a favorable light by Ouattara who did not want anyone to “trouble” his friend Ellen.

In January, 2017, Bamba was jailed at the Abidjan House of Arrest and Correction (MACA) and faced prosecution on charges of the misuse of social goods, forgery and use of false in private writing of trade and banking. The case related to $9 billion French Francs, an equivalent of about $17.2 million USD in a company known as I-Com Technology that Bamba and his business partner René Yédiéti were involved with. The company provided computer accessories services to the Ivorian Legislature.

Ousmane Bamba Seated Next To President George M. Weah – File Photo

But he was released from incarceration in March, 2017- just in time for him to transition to Liberia to play a critical role in the Weah Presidential Campaign for the elections which swept the President a Weah to power.

The prominent businessman from the town of Tiebissou in central Côte d’Ivoire, handled the finances (bagman) of the Weah campaign.

Ousmane Bamba And President George M. Weah – File Photo

Bamba, as Weah’s campaign Treasurer, was instrumental in making connections with his French business partners and important “friends” in the sub-region to attract much needed campaign funding and face-time with Weah.

Candidate Weah Visiting President Faure Gnassingbe in Togo – File Photo

During the campaign, the connections paid off and Weah visited the Presidents of Togo, Ghana, Niger, Mali and Gabon to be seen as burnishing his international credentials.

He was reluctantly received by Ouattara in Abidjan and although their meeting was cordial and diplomatic, it was was mechanical and not substantive. Ouattara was keen on extracting commitments from Weah that he protect former President Johnson Sirleaf.

The fraud case involving Bamba and his business partner was resolved two years later in January, 2019 when a magistrate ruled that he was not culpable in the matter.

Pres. Weah And Ousmane Bemba File Photo

Sources in Weah’s orbit say he is very loyal to those who helped propel him to power including Bamba. At the inauguration of the new Mosque in Tiebissou sponsored y President Weah in the hometown of Bamba, on a July 6, 2018, Bamba accompanied him.

Pres Weah And Adviser Bamba – File Photo

Bamba always features prominently in photo ops with President Weah at various occasions locally and internationally including his visits to France, Senegal and Israel and is seen as firmly entrenched as an influential member of President Weah’s inner circle.

Ousmane Bamba In File Photos With President Weah

French President Emmanuel Macron And Ousmane Bamba – File Photo

Dillon and Costa have not officially responded to Bamba’s threat against them.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

U.S. Sanctioned Individuals and Businesses Operating In 3 West African Countries

West Africa. February 1, 2019: An investigation conducted by the West African Journal Magazine has revealed the names of individuals and business entities under U.S. sanctions and doing business in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa.

U.S. OFAC Documents
U.S. OFAC Documents

According to information listed on the website of the Office of Foreign Asset Control of the US Department of the Treasury in Washington DC, several shipping lines and individuals are included on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN) and the Specially Designated Nationals For Global Terrorism (SDGT) sanction lists.

The U.S. OFAC administers a number of different sanctions programs. The sanctions can be either comprehensive or selective, using the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security goals.

Some of the sanctions are broad-based in scope and focused geographically like Cuba and Iran while others are targeted at specific individuals and entities for their ties to terrorism, narcotics and money laundering.

Liberia

The following shipping lines which are on the Liberian registry and list offices in Liberia are sanctioned because of their connection to the government of Iran which is under heavy economic sanctions by the U.S. Sanctions

GARBIN NAVIGATION LTD /IRAN

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ, Office 101 Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

1st Floor, FITCO Building No 3

Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

80 Broad Street Monrovia, Liberia 

 

 KONING MARINE CORP /IRAN

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

Office 101, 1st Floor

FITCO Building No 3, Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

80 Broad Street   Monrovia, Liberia 

 

BLUE TANKER SHIPPING SA /IRAN

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

Office 101, 1st Floor

FITCO Building No 3, Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

Majuro MH   Marshall Islands and Liberia  

 

 JUPITER SEAWAYS SHIPPING /IRAN

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ  Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

Office 101, 1st Floor

FITCO Building No 3, Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

80 Broad Street Monrovia, Liberia

 HERCULES INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

Office 101, 1st Floor

FITCO Building No 3, Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

80 Broad Street Monrovia, Liberia (Subject to Secondary Sanctions)

 

HERMIS SHIPPING SA /IRAN

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

Office 101, 1st Floor

FITCO Building No 3, Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

Panama City, Panama

Monrovia   Liberia (Subject to Secondary Sanctions)

 The following shipping lines registered under the Liberian flag, with offices in Liberia and connected to Iran are sanctioned under the designation of Specially Designated National Global Terrorism (SDGT):

GOLDEN FISH LIBERIA LTD.

2nd Street Sinkor and Logan Town, Monrovia, Montserrado County, Liberia (Subject to Secondary Sanctions Pursuant to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations)

This business is linked to one Ali Muhammad Qansu, a Lebanese born national who is linked to another Lebanese national Adham Husayn Tabaja who has ties to 13 iterations of Hizballah in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. Government has also designated and sanctioned Ali Muhammad Qansu, Adham Husayn Tabaj and Hizballah. The group Hizballah is listed as a terror organization by the U.S. Government.

 DOLPHIN TRADING COMPANY LIMITED

Bob Taylor Road Monrovia and Paynesville, Liberia linked to Ali Muhammad Qansu and subject to Secondary Sanctions Pursuant to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations.

SKY TRADE COMPANY

Logan Town, Opposite Rice Store Entity Monrovia, Liberia linked to Ali Muhammad Qansu and subject to Secondary Sanctions Pursuant to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations.

Under US laws, Terrorism Sanctions Regulations prohibit transactions involving blocked property, effect of transfers violating the provisions of this part, holding of certain types of blocked property in interest-bearing accounts, transaction or dealing in property, contributions of funds, goods, or services, evasions; attempts; conspiracies and exempt transactions.

The sanctions list entry indicate the sanctions program pursuant to which the person has been blocked, designated, or identified – SDN – Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations

Sierra Leone

Nine (9) individuals and entities in Sierra Leone are sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department as Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) under Iranian sanctions and include:

GLOBAL RELIEF FOUNDATION, INC.  Rruga e Kavajes, Building No. 3, Apartment No. 61, P.O. Box 2892 Entity SDGT SDN

TAJCO 62 Buckle Street Entity SDGT SDN

AL-WATFA, Ali Ibrahim  26 Malama Thomas Street Individual SDGT SDN

KAFAK ENTERPRISES LIMITED 88B, T/Balewa Road Entity SDGT SDN

MILENYUM ENERGY S.A. c/o Milenyum Denizcilik Gemi H., Hizmetleri Ltd. Sti, Nazli Sokak 9, Halilrifatpasa Mah, Sisli Entity SYRIA SDN

QANSU, Ali Muhammad Hafez Al Assaad Street, Abadi Building, 1st Floor Individual SDGT SDN

BLUE LAGOON GROUP LTD. 65 Siaka Stevens Street Entity SDGT SDN

KANSO FISHING AGENCY LIMITED Kissy Dockyard Entity SDGT SDN

GLOBAL TRADING GROUP NV  Frankrijklei 39, 2nd Floor Entity SDGT SDN

Cote d’Ivoire

Two (2) Individuals and entities are sanctioned in Cote d’ivoire  as Specially Designated Nationals  (SDN) under Iranian sanctions by the U.S. and include:

CHEHADE, Ali Ahmad    Individual SDGT SDN

GLOBAL TRADING GROUP NV Frankrijklei 39, 2nd Floor Entity SDGT SDN

No sanctioned individuals or entities are listed in Guinea, Gambia, Nigeria or Ghana.

West Africa Regional Map
West Africa Regional Map

The US Treasury Department says with reference to enforcing sanctions against the individuals and businesses designated as SDN and SDGT globally, “it performs a critical and far-reaching role in enhancing national security by implementing economic sanctions against foreign threats to the U.S., identifying and targeting the financial support networks of national security threats, and improving the safeguards of our financial systems. The Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence marshals the department’s intelligence and enforcement functions with the twin aims of safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats…”

OFAC Dept Treasury Logo
OFAC Dept Treasury Logo

It is unclear if governments of the three West African countries are aware of international U.S. Government sanctions that the named  individuals and entities are subjected to and why they are allowed to openly operate in these countries.

The U.S. Treasury Department Sanction list was updated November, 2018 and some of the entities have been listed for years. No actions have been taken in the West African countries to restrict the operation of the individuals and entities named.

The U.S. Government says, violation of the sanctions may lead to no action, civil penalties or criminal prosecution.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

 

Major Solar Power Investor Launches Service in Cote d’Ivoire

Lumos Global officially launched a new, nationwide solar electricity service for Cote d’Ivoire on November 11 at an event in the city of Divo.

Map of Cote Ivoire
Map of Cote Ivoire

The Lumos Mobile Electricity Service aims to bring power to millions of people who do not currently have access to an affordable, reliable or clean energy supply. The service is paid for using mobile phone credit and is available to all of the roughly 10.5 million MTN Cote d’Ivoire subscribers, through a partnership between Lumos and MTN, a press statement issued on Monday said.

At the launch event, hosted by Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister for Economic Infrastructure and Mayor of Divo Amédé Koffi Kouakou, Lumos and MTN Cote d’Ivoire announced that the service will now be available in MTN stores across the country.

The event was attended by hundreds of local residents, in a demonstration of the appeal of solar energy to ordinary Ivorians and the demand for reliable power, particularly outside of major urban centers. It is estimated that only around 40% of Ivorians are connected to the national electricity grid.

Lumos Global
Lumos Global

Lumos’ service has been available in neighboring Nigeria since 2016 and has experienced rapid growth – over 65,000 systems have been sold, and 250,000 people have been provided with electricity. Many of Lumos’ Nigerian customers are small businesses that use the power to stay open later hours, thereby increasing revenues. The service also is enabling thousands of children to study into the evening, and powers clinics and community centers across Nigeria. The service stands to have the same impact in Cote d’Ivoire.

Lumos also has created over 1,100 jobs in Nigeria. With swift expansion planned throughout Cote d’Ivoire the company will be making a significant investment in creating new jobs for Ivorians.

Source: Lumos Global