Ex-Gambia president looted US$363 million public funds, owned 281 properties

Tracking organised crime in Africa

Gambia’s official inquiry into the corruption of former President Yahya Jammeh found he had looted at least $363 million of public funds during his more than two decades in power.

The two-year inquiry found Jammeh was responsible for “shameless acts of brazen outright thievery at the Central Bank of The Gambia,” said Abubacarr Tambadou, the country’s minister of justice.

The Janneh Commision of Inquiry submitted its final report to President Adama Barrow on Friday, but the complete results of the investigation have not been made public.

Tambadou told reporters that the commission found Jammeh had stolen $304.7 million from the central bank during his 22 years in power.

Jammeh’s financial activities included “complex webs of intricate and sophisticated international financial transactions,” Tambadou said.

The commission said Jammeh claimed ownership of 281 properties in Gambia, including his palace in his hometown of Kanilai and a house in Potomac, Maryland.

Foreign governments are helping to track and recover Jammeh’s assets, Tambadou said without giving details.

Barrow had set up the official investigation, which is known as the Janneh Commission, after its chairman, Surahata Janneh, six months after Jammeh left for self-imposed exile in Equatorial Guinea in 2017. He remains there today.

The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in a separate investigation of Jammeh’s corruption, also found that, Jammeh and his associates looted or misappropriated at least $975 million in public funds and illicit timber revenue.

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One local media outlet reported that that the investigation report might not be released for six months.

Gambia has also established an official inquiry into human rights abuses committed during Jammeh’s reign known as the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission. The investigation continues.

By Gideon Sarpong | iWatch Africa |

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Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a media practitioner with over six years experience in data, investigative and policy journalism. Gideon is currently the Policy and News Director at iWatch Africa. His major role includes developing news strategy for correspondents across Ghana, as well as designing project and policy focus for the organisation. He is an author with over eight publications; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation (Wealth of Nations Program), Commonwealth Youth Program (DYLP) and Bloomberg Data for Health Program. Gideon holds a degree in economics from the University of Cape Coast and PgD in Policy Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Zambia. He is a firm believer in the use of data journalism and technology for development and is committed to promoting transparency and accountability in Africa.

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