Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, also known as "Ayatollah," is a Comorian Islamic leader and politician who served as the President of Comoros. He was born on June 5, 1958, in Mutsamudu, on the island of Anjouan. Sambi is of Hadhrami ancestry, descending from the Ba 'Alawi family of Hadhramaut, which is now part of Yemen. This lineage makes him a Sayyid, as he is a descendant of Ali al-Uraidhi ibn Ja'far al-Sadiq.
Sambi received his education in Islamic studies in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Qom, Iran. During his time in Iran, he studied under Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, which earned him the nickname "The Ayatollah of Comoros" despite his Sunni background.
In the political arena, Sambi's career took off when he ran as an independent candidate in the presidential primary election on April 16, 2006, in Anjouan. He emerged as the winner, receiving 23.70% of the vote among thirteen candidates. Subsequently, in the presidential election held on May 14, 2006, he secured a victory with 58.02% of the national vote. His inauguration as President of the Union of the Comoros took place on May 26, 2006, marking the first peaceful transfer of power in the country's history.
Sambi advocated for various initiatives during his presidency, including the fight against corruption, job creation, and the construction of improved housing for Comorians living in poverty. He emphasized that Comoros was not ready to become an Islamic state, and he assured the public that wearing a veil would not be enforced under his leadership.
However, Sambi's political career faced significant challenges in recent years. In 2018, he was charged with planning the Comoros Passport scheme, along with Bashar Kiwan, which reportedly involved embezzlement of public funds amounting to $200 million from the UAE government. Sambi was subsequently jailed, and in September 2018, he appealed to the Supreme Court for unrestricted access to his lawyer to defend himself against the corruption charges.
In November 2022, Sambi, along with Bashar Kiwan, Majd Suleiman, and other directors of Comoro Gulf Holdings, was tried for high treason, embezzlement, and money laundering of Comorian public funds linked to the economic citizenship program. The prosecution sought a life sentence for Sambi and his accomplices. On November 28, 2022, Sambi was sentenced to life in prison.
Date of Birth; 5th June, 1958
Time of Birth:
Place of Birth: Mutsamudu