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Gambia’s Commission of Inquiry delves into the finances of Ex-President

Members of the Gambia’s Commission of Inquiry probing the financial assets of ex-president Yahya Jammeh and corps

WEST AFRICA – Former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh who is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea is said to be under serious scrutiny.

Jammeh who was deposed after a decade and the half in office is alleged to have emptied the country’s treasury, leaving nothing behind for the new government to operate.

The Gambia’s Commission of Inquiry established by President Adama Barrow to investigate the financial dealings of the former president convened its first public hearing last Thursday.

The commission’s chairperson Surahatta Semega Janneh said the purpose of conducting the investigations is to provide clarity on the former president’s financial transactions as four managers of corporate institutions testified.

Ex-Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh

The hearing is public to ensure transparency.

“We are established to look into the assets and financial transactions of the former president and associates when he was acting as the president of The Gambia,” he said.

Amie Bensouda, lead counsel for the Commission said funds have been withdrawn under the instructions of the former president, and that they wanted to know whether due process was followed in the withdrawal of these funds.

Also testifying earlier, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Gambia Limited Bolaji Ayodele said the Alhamdulilah Petroleum and Mineral Company (APAM) were holding both a dollar and dalasi accounts in their bank.

“In the dollar account, the sum of 660,377.45 U.S. dollars was deposited,” he said.

The managing director of the First International Bank Momodou Musa Njie confirmed that the same company had an account in his bank with both dalasi and dollar accounts.

Yankuba Darboe, the Commissioner General of Gambia Revenue Authority, told the Commission that his institution was not involved in the Tax Recovery Accounts of both FIB and Guaranty Trust Bank respectively.

Sources say sand mining was an evident activity in the country under the ex-president but the income from it was never mentioned as part of the country’s budget.

In West Africa, several former presidents’ financial dealings have come under check.  In Senegal, former Wade’s son faced corruption and public theft charges.  In Liberia, leading presidential candidates are being urged by their people to investigate the financial dealings of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her family, friends and officials when they leave office next year.

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Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens is a researcher, media issues analyst and senior contributor with Globe Afrique.

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