Published: Tue, May 23, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Former Gambian President Jammeh 'stole $50M' from state, justice minister says

Former Gambian President Jammeh 'stole $50M' from state, justice minister says

"The application for the freezing order was necessitated by the discovery of unauthorized withdrawals of millions of dalasis and foreign currencies by former President Yahya Jammeh from the Central Bank and other state corporations", he said.

The Gambia's justice minister said today that ex-leader Yahya Jammeh stole around Dollars 50 million via a state telecoms company, while a court froze his assets in the small west African nation.

According to him, the preliminary investigations have revealed that between 2006 and 2017, Yahya Jammeh personally or under his instruction directed the unlawful withdrawal of at least D189 million from funds belonging to Social Security and Hounsing Finance Corporation.

The new government has accused Jammeh of massive fraud including siphoning off public money during his 22-year rule that ended in election defeat and disgraced exile in Equatorial Guinea in January. This includes 88 accounts and 14 companies linked in some way to Mr Jammeh - amounting to all his "known assets" remaining in The Gambia.

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The BBC reported that a court has ordered all his remaining assets in The Gambia to be frozen.

Mr Jammeh has been out of contact since he left The Gambia and has not responded to the allegations.

An investigation by the Reuters news agency also found that in 2012 and 2013 the veteran leader had transferred more than $8 million from a bank account linked to his charity foundation, the Jammeh Foundation for Peace, to himself rather than to the foundation's projects.

Gambia's solicitor general said a commission of inquiry would be set up next month to decide the fate of the assets, Solicitor General Cherno Marenah told Reuters.

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The defeated leader then fought for weeks to hold on to the presidency, before finally standing down under the threat of military intervention from Senegal.

Jammeh is now living in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

Tambedou said the assets frozen were without exception; all his known properties including his lands, companies and livestock.

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