A Panamanian man, claiming to be an “investor” was recently reported missing after it was found out that he had secretly left the country for Ghana, without paying his hotel bill at the Kotu, four star Metzy Residence Hotel in The Gambia, where he had stayed during his visit to the West African nation, Freedom Newspaper can report. Mr. Sylvestre Roberto Brenes Bushell, had suddenly left the Metzy hotel, leaving his luggage and other belongings behind.
His whereabouts was unknown. His sudden disappearance had prompted the hotel management to contact his Gambian business partner one Sanna Jallow, a resident of Brikama to help locate Sylvestre. Jallow, a former police officer, and a car dealer, later discovered that Sylvestre had traveled to Ghana. Sylvestre never informed him that he was traveling to Accra. Sylvestre had to send over two hundred thousand dalasis (200,000) to one Saffie, a Sierra Leonean lady, for her to hand over the money to Jallow to pay his unsettled hotel bill. Jallow did not know the Sierra Leonean lady. He just received a phone call from her, asking Jallow to meet her to receive the money that was sent by the Panama man Sylvestre.
Upon receiving the money from Saffie, Jallow visited the Metzy hotel, where he paid Sylvestre’s pending hotel bill. He was also given a power of attorney by Sylvestre to receive his belongings on his behalf.
No formal missing person complaint was filed with the police. The matter was sorted within the hotel. Witnesses were invited to witness the handing over of Sylvestre’s properties to Sanna Jallow.
Sylvestre later returned to The Gambia after Jallow had settled the hotel bill from the money that he had earlier sent through the Sierra Leonean lady Saffie. On arrival in Banjul, he made an additional payment of over twenty-six thousand dalasis (D26,000) to the hotel. He was cleared to leave.
Sylvestre had visited The Gambia on two occasions. He had met with prominent Gambians. He was known to be a good tipper at the hotel. He used to tip women between D5,000 dalasis and D10,000 dalasis. He was often referred to as the new Babanding Sissoho in town.
A prominent Gambian politician used to visit him at the hotel late at night. The paperwork he left behind during his unannounced trip to Ghana, had showed the politician’s contact details.
When contacted for comment, Sanna Jallow said Sylvestre, had left the country without informing him. He said he received a call from the hotel, who asked him about Sylvestre’s whereabouts.
“I tried to locate him by calling him. Sylvestre, told me that he was in Ghana. He claimed that he tried pay his hotel bill with his Credit Card, but the declined. He then decided to travel to Ghana. This was what he told me. I felt bad because I am his business partner in this country. Sylvestre, later sent some money through one Sierra Leonean lady called Saffie, I do not know her last name. I received a phone call from Saffie, who told me to meet her so that she could give me the money. I do not know this lady. This was my first time of meeting her. Upon receiving the money, I went to the hotel to pay his unsettled bill,” Jallow said.
Sanna Jallow said he was introduced to Sylvestre by a Sierra Leonean friend of his called Muhammed. Muhammed lives in Sierra Leonean. He said he was told that Sylvestre, was interested in investing hotel related business in The Gambia, and he (Muhammed) would want Sanna to help Sylvestre.
“In one of his trips to The Gambia, Sylvestre, came with his nephew. He told me that he is an Immigration lawyer in Panama. He also said he had open a business in Ghana, called Promo international. He said he wanted to open a subsidiary company in The Gambia,” said Mr. Jallow.
Jallow was later tasked by Sylvestre to help open a company for him in The Gambia. He said he contacted his neighbor lawyer Lamin Touray, the former Registrar of Companies at the Attorney General’s Chambers. Touray was not working at the AG Chambers at the time, Jallow said.
“I gave Lamin D25,00 dalasis to help us open the Promo Company for us. He never charged me. It was done for free. I gave him Sylvestre’s passport size picture, including mine to register the company for us. Both Sylvestre and I were not present when he submitted the paperwork for the company to be registered. I just handed the pictures to him. Lamin was able to register it for us. He later handed the business registration documents to me, which I handed to Sylvestre,” he said.
“Sylvestre had allocated me twenty five percent shares of the business. He also allocated twenty five percent shares to Frank; a Sierra Leonean national he adopted as his son. Frank lives in Sierra Leone,” he added.
Jallow said Sylvestre later started distancing himself from him. Each time, he wanted to meet Sylvestre, he said, the Panamanian would give him excuses that he was busy.
“Sylvestre later had new friends. He had met so many prominent Gambians during his visit to the country. I later decided to move on and give him space. The way he treated me was bad. I assisted him to open a bank account at Ecobank. I am a signatory to that account. He received a transfer of $8,000 dollars in that account, but he never informed me. When I found out, he came up with an excuse. I felt that he was hiding from me. I am going to disassociate myself from him. I will talk to Lamin, so that he can remove my name from his company,” Jallow told me in a phone conversation over the weekend.
“I remember Sylvestre, asking me if I know a politician called Mama Kandeh. He said Mama used to invite him to attend their political rallies. Sylvestre was close to the hotel manager, who is a Lebanese national,” he added.
Jallow wasn’t sure about the name of the hotel that Sylvestre was hosted. He first mentioned the Metzy hotel, but he later corrected himself and said the African Princess hotel. He said the hotel was not far from the Palma-Rima hotel. But our source said Sylvestre was living at the Metzy hotel and not the African Princess hotel.
Jallow said he was not aware of any illegal business that Mr. Sylvestre was involved in The Gambia. But he said, Sylvestre’s recent behavioral change towards him had shattered his confidence and faith in him.