Gambia: Commission finds that Jammeh wasted over D1B

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Abubacarr Ba Tambadou, the attorney general and minister of Justice on Friday disclosed that the Commission of Inquiry widely known as Janneh Commission found that disproportionate amounts of resources were wasted, misappropriated and diverted by former President Jammeh amounting to at least D1,065,012,512 (one billion, sixty-five million, five hundred and twelve thousand dalasis);  $304, 718, 071 (three hundred and four million, seven hundred and eighteen thousand and seventy-one Dollars).

Justice Minister Tambadou made this announcement at a press briefing held at his chambers while releasing the 93-page report of the Commission of Inquiry that was established in July 2017 to probe into the financial activities of public bodies, enterprises and offices with regard to their dealing with former Present Yahya Jammeh.

“Some of the key findings of the Commission include the fact that former President Jammeh, who was the primary subject of the Commission’s inquiry, and who’s salary in July 1994 when he took over power was D2,744.20 and was engaged in an unconscionable land grab and acquired 281 (two hundred and eighty-one) landed properties throughout the country,” he revealed.

“It includes private residential and commercial properties, islands, forest parks, wild life reserves and wetlands,’ he mentioned.

The minister also stated that the Commission had found the meager resources at the disposal of the country were managed at former President Jammeh’s whims and caprices without regard to the structures and processes in place to ensure coherence and accountability; that former President Jammeh, from his actions, reserved the right to appropriate funds from wherever they were available to him, for procurement of goods and services and made no distinctions as to whether the project was for his personal benefit or for public purposes.

“That at least D3,330,046.60(three billion, three hundred and thirty million dalasis); $1,858,367 (one million, and eight hundred and fifty-eight thousand, and three hundred and sixty-seven dollars);and GBP6,618.41 (six thousand, six hundred and eighteen pounds sterling), mostly in cash, was improperly authorised and directly transferred for use by Zineb Jammeh from various  accounts in the country,” Justice Minister Tambadou revealed.

He disclosed that the Commission found that former President Jammeh’s financial dealings and/or activities were at all stages facilitated, assisted or even guided by a number of people. “The Commission has identified 17 persons as close associates of former President Jammeh based on the evidence before it.

“These include military officers who left with him into exile, private individuals and companies that had business dealings with him either directly or indirectly through companies in which former President Jammeh had an interest,” he added.

“Apart from persons who fall in the said category, the Commission also found that there were others who worked with former President Jammeh by virtue of the offices they held, many of whom were also involved in his financial dealings and/or activities. Some of the key findings of the Commission include the fact that former President Jammeh, who was the primary subject of the Commission’s inquiry, and who’s salary in July 1994 when he took over power was D2,744.20: was engaged in an unconscionable land grab and acquired 281 (two hundred and eighty-one) landed properties throughout the country. These include private residential and commercial properties, islands, forest parks, wild life reserves and wetlands.

“The Commission underscored that the damage former President Jammeh caused to government institutions, public resources and state owned enterprises is of such serious nature that the government ought to introduce a motion before the National Assembly for charges to be brought against him for theft, economic crimes and corruption,” he revealed.

Based on the recommendations of the Commission, the actions taken by the government are expected to generate nearly a billion dalasis from the assets forfeited to the state and to be sold.

The minster, however, made it clear that it should also be emphasised that the Commission was not only established for the recovery of monies even though it was equally important that there was a credible and transparent process of accountability which provided the state with the legal and evidentiary basis for its recovery efforts.

“The Commission was also meant to expose the level of corruption and the extent of reckless disregard for fiscal discipline and safeguards against abuses. Therefore, the Commission has made a number of policy recommendations in order to improve on these safeguards,” he announced.

Author: Fatou B. Cham

Source: thepoint.gm

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