The Gambian government has confiscated assets 86 bank accounts and 131 properties owned by the country’s former dictator, Mr. Yahya Jammeh, as investigations into his illegally acquired wealth intensifies.
This was disclosed by the country’s Justice Minister, Mr. Aboubaccar Tambedou, on Monday.
The new Gambian government, headed by Mr. Adama Barrow, has accused Mr. Jammeh of large-scale fraud, including theft of public funds during his 22-year rule, which was terminated via an electoral defeat in December and subsequent exile in January.
Since being forced into exile, Mr. Jammeh has fallen off the radar and has continually avoided answering journalists’ queries about the accusations against him.
“The government has obtained a court order to freeze and place temporary hold on all of Jammeh’s known assets and companies directly linked to him,” Mr. Tambedou said.
A total of 14 companies registered in the former dictator’s name were confiscated along with livestock and cars. The Solicitor-General of The Gambia, Mr. Cherno Marenah, disclosed that a commission of inquiry would be set up in June to decide what will become of the seized assets.
Mr. Jammeh, disclosed the Solicitor-General, withdrew an estimated $50 million from the country’s Central Bank between 2006 and 2016. This sum funded his lush lifestyle complete with a private jet, a mansion in the United States and a fleet of luxury cars.
An investigation by Reuters in 2012 and 2013 discovered $8 million in a bank account opened in the name of the Jammeh Foundation for Peace, an alleged charity he founded. It was also discovered that the money flowed into Mr. Jammeh’s private accounts, not to any project undertaken by the foundation.
The country’s Justice Ministry has also opened investigations into the purported charity.