Banished Gambian Leader Jammeh Embezzles Millions from Government Coffers

According to Mai Ahmad Fatty, a special adviser of new Gambian president Adama Barrow, expelled Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh allegedly plundered state coffers of millions of dollars and shipped out luxury vehicles through cargo planes in his closing weeks in power. Yahya Jammeh left the country after trying hard to cling to power after losing the elections. His 22 years in power came to an end, but the ex-president “robbed” state coffers of a whopping sum.

More than 11 million dollars (8.8 million pounds) is missing from government treasury after the departure of the long-time ruler for Equatorial Guinea late on Saturday. Yahya Jammeh refused to accept defeat after the December 1 Gambian elections, but surrendered power in due course after representatives of West African leaders and neighboring troops pressed him to leave office. Hundreds of residents of Banjul applauded a military force by the West African regional alliance, ECOWAS, as it entered the capital for providing security and allowing Adama Barrow, who was residing in adjacent Senegal for about a week, to return and assume power.

An Empty State Treasury

However, against a background of increasing controversy over Jammeh’s assurances guaranteeing his departure, Barrow’s special adviser Mai Ahmed Fatty said that the new administration discovered the robbery of millions of dollars from the state treasury, terming them “empty” before reporters in Dakar, the Senegalese capital. Over 500 dalasi is said to be withdrawn, which has plunged the Gambian government into a state of financial distress. He also added that a Chadian cargo plane transported luxury vehicles and goods out of Gambia in Jammeh’s final weeks in power.

What has been done?

Officials at Banjul airport have been ordered to track and disallow any of the ex-president’s belongings to leave. It also appeared that some of the most of the swags is in Guinea, where the ex-president and his allies stopped on their way to exile. However, Fatty also said that the president is eagerly waiting to return to the Gambia, but security in the country is still shaky.

Jammeh, who has previously made bewildering declarations about herbal rubs and bananas curing AIDS, is now in Equatorial Guinea, which is the home to the longest-serving African ruler and not an International Criminal court state party. Fatty renounced a joint declaration issued by the African Union, United Nations, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that termed Jammeh’s departures as “temporary” and granted a number of protections to Jammeh, and his family and associates. However, Jammeh’s departure revived the Gambia from a 22-year long silence and promised the return of several Gambians who fled the country during the crisis.

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