Arrest warrant issued for fugitive Bashar Kiwan and several associates in the Comoros Islands

Bashar Kiwan is once again in hot water due to his shady business deals in the Comoros Islands, which issued a warrant for his arrest in June of 2018 for embezzlement of Comorian public funds, fraud and corruption. Kiwan’s fall from grace comes with the public trial of former president of the Comoros Island Abdallah Sambi who was the main supporter of the fugitive

The Comoros found Kiwan guilty of breaking articles 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158,159, 160, 161,162 ,44, 55, 136, 137,117 and 148 of the Penal Code as well as decree number N˚14-016/PR issued on January 17th 2004 related to the issue of the law N˚13-015/AU issued on the 13th of December 2013 regarding certain provisions of the law N˚08/018 AU issued on
the 25th of July 2008 on the transparency of transactions in the public , economic, financial and social sector.

While Kiwan is a wanted in other jurisdictions for embezzlement of individuals, his criminal convictions in the Comoros Islands are related to embezzlement of proceeds from a passport sales scheme he masterminded, known as the UAE-Comoros citizenship exchange. He proposed to his close associate, then president of the country, Abdullah Sambi, what was dubbed the “economic citizen program” to raise the level of the country’s income.
The plan was set in motion when President Sambi announced that the UAE was due to send over $200m in exchange for the Comoros documenting 4,000 Bidoon (stateless) families.

This financial program was introduced in 2008 by the government of president Sambi and ended by the men involved being charged with the misuse of government funds to illicitly enrich themselves.

The embezzled amounts are estimated at hundreds of millions and were at the expense of the Comorians who should have seen those funds go towards infrastructure or sanitization. Instead, the major part of the revenues from the sale of passports went towards financing the personal expenses of Kiwan and his associates.

In December 2018, Kiwan escaped Kuwait in order to avoid serving sentences for 4 criminal convictions related to fraud, embezzlement, and forgery of official documents. Mr. Kiwan hid in a truck that crossed to Iraq, then traveled to Lebanon to finally reach France where he is currently evading extradition to the Comoros Islands, Kuwait, and Egypt. Informed sources say that the Comorian Government will be pursuing recovery of their embezzled millions and criminal convictions of Mr. Kiwan in France.

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