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 policy analyst and media practitioner with close to a decade of experience in policy, data and investigative journalism. Gideon is a co-founder of iWatch Africa. He is an author; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation, Commonwealth Youth Program ,Free Press Unlimited and Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative. Gideon is the founder of Sustainable Ocean Alliance Ghana. He was a 2021 Policy Leader Fellow at the European University Institute, School of Trans-national Governance in Florence, Italy and 2020/21 Open Internet For Democracy Leader. Gideon was also a 2022 Visiting Scholar/Reuters Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK and was selected as a 2022 TRF/Trust Conference Changemaker. He is currently the Africa Regional Cordinator for Environmental Justice Foundation and a 2023 Pulitzer ORN Fellow. Email: gideonsarpong@iwatchafrica.org.

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