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Annex 35 Seized arms and related material in Niger
1. The Panel has received photographs and lists of weapons seized by the Gendarmerie from late 2016 to July 2017 in the regions of Arlit, Bilma, Dirkou and Madama.
2. Conflict Armament Research has further shared with the Panel pictures and data on weapons and ammunition seized in Niger until March 2017. For most of these arms the Libyan origin is highly probable as detailed below.
Annex 36 AIK trading and White Star company
The risk of diversion and misuse of end-user certificates
1. The Deputy Minister of Defence, Khaled al-Sharif, figured most prominently as signatory of end-user certificates for large-scale transfers of small arms and light weapons as well as ammunition. Khaled al-Sharif has stated to the Panel that in his function he was in charge of signing end-user certificates, but was not the person deciding about the purchase of equipment. The Minister of Defence or the Chief of Staff were generally deciding on purchases and needed verification by the Military Procurement Department.
2. The Panel obtained an of the end-user certificate that indicates a possible instance of non-compliance with the arms embargo in mid-2013. On 17 September 2013, Bulgaria submitted an incomplete notification to the Committee on the transfer of 2,028,000 rounds of 7.62x39mm ammunition. The exporting Bulgarian company was Vazovski Machinostroitelni Zavodi (VMZ) and the broker was AIK Trading Limited registered in Cyprus. Based on the Panel’s enquiry Bulgaria, noted that the export licence for the ammunition was cancelled on 15 October 2013. AIK Ltd however received on 5 June 2013 the full payment showed on the proforma invoice of Euro 381,264.00.
3. The money was transferred throught the account of company registered in Tunisia, called “Société Al Bayan de Commerce International” (Al Bayan). The transfer from Al Bayan suggests that the delivery had taken place before a licence was issued.
4. Khaled al-Sharif denied that he had any involvement in the transaction. He insisted that the end-user certificate features a forged signature. He pointed out that he used to always add a signature next to his signature, which was missing on the copy obtained by the Panel. Therefore, the Panel verified the end-user certificate submitted by Bulgaria on 17 September 2013. This copy features a hand-written date just next to his signature.
White Star company
5. The Panel reviewed the financial transaction from Al Bayan’s Tunisian bank account. From January 2013 to May 2015, the company received funds from several Libyan accounts of over 253 million USD. In the same time period, the company transferred approximately the same amount of money to companies and offshore trading companies in several countries. Further investigations brought to light a payment of two million Euro to a Greek company. The company confirmed to the Panel that it was the down payment by the Libyan company White Star for the purchase of 181 tanker trucks for the Ministry of Defence.
6. A Greek broker had introduced the Greek manufacturer to Khaled al-Sharif. The first meeting in Tripoli in early 2013 was attended by Khaled al-Sharif, Abd al-Hakim Belhaj, and the Director of White Star Mustapha Abd al-Rahman. It was followed by a visit to the factory in Greece to Athens. White Star signed the contract to purchase 181 tanker trucks. The down payment of 2 million Euro, however, was done through the intermediary of Al Bayan’s Tunisian bank account
7. It seems that Al Bayan was used to channel money from Libyan companies to veil the origin of the funds. The Panel, therefore, investigated whether Mr. Sharif or Mr Belhadj had any private interests in the White Star company. Mr. Sharif and Mr Belhadj confirmed to the Panel that they visited the factory in Greece. They both stressed that they had not connections with White Star, but knew the director, Abd al-Rahman. The managers of the Greek company, on contrast, mentioned that Mr. Sharif had given the instruction to Mr. Abd al-Rahaman to conclude the deal. The managers of the Greek company was under the impression that White Star and al Bayan were used as front companies.
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