Africa  

Jammeh ‘plundered’ Gambia coffers, says Barrow aide

Yahya Jammeh / AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI

Yahya Jammeh / AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI

Gambia’s exiled strongman Yahya Jammeh plundered the state coffers and stole millions of dollars in his final weeks in power, an aide to new President Adama Barrow said Sunday.

Jammeh flew out of The Gambia on Saturday, ending 22 years at the helm of the tiny west African nation, and headed for Equatorial Guinea where he is expected to settle with his family.

A West African military force entered the country Sunday — greeted by cheers from relieved residents — to provide security to allow Barrow, who has been in neighbouring Senegal for more than a week, to return to Banjul and take power.

But amid growing controversy over the assurances offered to Jammeh to guarantee his departure, aide Mai Fatty said the new administration had discovered that some $11 million had recently been stolen.

“The coffers are largely empty,” he said.

“Over two weeks, over 500 million dalasi ($11 million) were withdrawn” by Jammeh, he said. “As we take over, the government of The Gambia is in financial distress.”

Following Barrow’s win in the December 1 election, Jammeh refused to step down, triggering weeks of uncertainty that almost ended in a full military intervention.

Jammeh slunk off in the dead of night from The Gambia’s capital Banjul in the early hours of Sunday on an unmarked plane alongside Guinea-Conakry’s President Alpha Conde.

He left behind a small minority of diehard supporters, some of whom wept as his plane departed.

Barrow is eager to return “as soon as possible”, Mai Fatty said, warning however, that “the state of security in The Gambia is still fragile.”

On Sunday, “additional forces crossed into The Gambia to beef up the numbers already on the ground,” Barrow said, according to a statement read out by Mai Fatty.

Mai Fatty said that the new administration wanted the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forces to stay in The Gambia because they were “absolutely required.”

“We want their mandate to be extended,” he said, adding that Barrow was waiting for assurances of loyalty from the security forces, including the police and the army.

Jammeh personally controlled certain sections of the security forces, and his long tenure was marked by systematic rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary detention.

Critics have raised concerns over the wording of a statement issued by the UN, ECOWAS and the African Union that seemed to offer Jammeh comfortable guarantees for his future, but experts told AFP the document was not legally binding.

The first priority for the new government will be to ensure the safe return of tens of thousands of people who have fled in recent weeks fearing a bloody end to the crisis.

The crisis had also sparked the exodus of thousands of foreign visitors, dealing a potentially devastating blow to a country which earns up to 20 percent of its income from tourism.



12 Comments
  • infinity2020

    Nearly all African leaders suffers from poverty and slavery mentality by stealing from their country to hide the same loot in their former colonial masters country . Can you imagine the stupidity? !!!!!!!!

    • Omooba A

      Stupidity is a milder word as most, if not all, African leaders are morons with enslaved mentality- ‘colonial mentality’ as Fela put it. The annoying part is that they expect foreigners to come an invest their hard earn monies in a market that these idiots would subscribed to. I termed this moronic attitude as ‘second slavery’ for these so-called millionaires/billionaires with no particular source of income but politics of looting.

      • amador kester

        You should be marching on the streets to stop corruption in africa not just using the arm chair social media alone

        • Omooba A

          You should start from your country and let other countries emulate.
          Technology makes it easier now and you could start your street protest through any social network.

    • Ojiyovwi

      The problems of greed and the attendant corruption is not the sole preserve of Africans. It is an unfortunate human trait with use have the misfortune of being hit first and continuously by the colonials to tell us how meagre our worth and then to have poor African leaders who fail us time and time again We don’t have anymore Mugabes, Machel nor Nkruma to fight for our rights as worthy human beings. We don’t anymore saints of the type of Mandela. The Russians and the Chinese, and of course Europeans plunder their own an run around the world looking for where to starch their loot – In the UK, the case of BHS is the most recent

  • AZZO

    The guy has some very evil looks sha. He looks very very well and seriously like evil. Good he has gone whether or not he will be punished for his deeds whilst he held sway as leader is not all that important.

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  • ecd201

    How can he be clutching onto a Koran, while perpetrating all manner of evils imaginable? The black man indeed has a problem. They are the most religious and the most evil in every religion imaginable. I wonder how the teaching of all thee religious have helped to shape their way of life into doing the right thing.

    • Ojiyovwi

      The problems of greed and the attendant corruption is not the sole preserve of Africans. It is an unfortunate human trait with use have the misfortune of being hit first and continuously by the colonials to tell us how meagre our worth and then to have poor African leaders who fail us time and time again We don’t have anymore Mugabes, Machel nor Nkruma to fight for our rights as worthy human beings. We don’t anymore saints of the type of Mandela. The Russians and the Chinese, and of course Europeans plunder their own an run around the world looking for where to starch their loot – In the UK, the case of BHS is the most recent.

      • ecd201

        You just mentioned where the problems are and you fail to mention where they have solutions. Your mindset and your ability to justify evils in our society is the reason why we will not move forward as a nation.
        Because something bad happened in London does not legitimize such evil.

        • Ojiyovwi

          Perhaps I should say that greed is not the sole behaviour of Africans. It’s just that our greed is over meagre resources. That is why we feel it the most. Europeans have ours and their resources to plunder and satisfy their greed.

  • Ojiyovwi

    If this is a proven allegation, it will go to show that some African leaders are the worst perpetrators of misery on our terribly impoverished people. So, was rogue clinging all along to ensure he secured sufficient loot for himself, his host and their families? What did he need to afford his miserably sad existence? Has he already enrolled himself at ‘club ibori’ of know state thieves? He must be arrested and brought back to the Gambia to account for his loot.

    Yahya Jiammeh has behaved like o true state coward who would chose to run away from his own mess, but the mess will follow wherever he chooses to rest messed-up head. I am so disappointed that we still have these sort of leaders in Africa.

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