|Kassim Tajideen at his office in Beirut|
Kassim's brother, Hussein Tajideen, who was a close business partner of Jammeh for a number of years, managed several businesses in the Gambia during the Jammeh era until they finally fell apart last year. It was a relationship that saw anything but stable with frequent disagreements between the two that led to Mr. Tajideen being expelled from the Gambia on, at least twice.
The criminal indictment charged that Kassim Tajideen helped fund Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group. The US is also investigating Mr. Tajideen's relationship with Kansas-based food producer Seaboard Corporation.
According to a November article in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Kissim Tajideen was found that companies tied to his family business did millions of dollars in business with Seaboard Corporation after the US Treasury added him to the US terror blacklist in 2009. Seaboard Corporation is an American company famous for producing the Butterball turkey that partnered with Muhamed Bazzi and Fadi Maziggi in the establishment of the Gambia Milling Corporation.
Tajideen cornered the chicken market in the Gambia probably importing them from Kansas. It must be noted that the United Stated is not expected to file any charges against Seaboard at this time and no suggestion that the food producer did anything wrong.
Mr. Kassim Tajideen, head of the Tajideen family business, face multiple felony counts, including evading terrorism sanctions and conspiring to launder money. According to Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Agent in Charge, "Kassim Tajideen posed a direct threat to safety and stability around the world" who "acted as a key source of funds for their global terror network."
According to the WSJ, the two brothers were added to the government's terrorist blacklist in 2010 for allegedly funneling millions of dollars to Hezbollah and running "cover companies" for the group in Africa.
It is against this hostile background that the Barrow administration is trying to install a government that will not only embrace the democratic culture that the dictatorship overthrew in July 1994 but to create a free market atmosphere that will encourage legitimate foreign businesses and investors to do business in The Gambia. However, to realize this laudable goal, proper screening of investors and the monitoring of their business practices must be instituted.
We are, of course, not suggesting that all foreign investors currently in the country are either on or are likely to be on the US Treasury list. We are, however, urging the administration to do is to put up safeguards against what we consider to be a real threat to the credibility of a very young and inexperienced government that has yet to benefit from the international goodwill accruing to it after replacing the dictator. Do not think for a minute that the world is not watching.
This blog is based, in large part, to a Wall Street Journal piece published today and written by Rob Barry and Christopher S. Stewart with whom we have cooperated with, previously.