Gambia accuses former president Jammeh of stealing $50m, linked with Gamtel

26 May 2017

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The Gambia's former ruler Yahya Jammeh stole at least $50m from the state, the country's justice minister said on Monday, in the first major anti-corruption move by the country's new president.

It's the first time the new government of the west African country has put a figure on the amount it believes Jammeh plundered from state coffers before leaving for exile in Equatorial Guinea in January after 22 years in power.

"President Yahya Jammeh personally or under his instructions directed the unlawful withdrawal of at least $50 million," Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said, describing withdrawals from The Gambia's central bank and linked with state-owned Gamtel between 2013 and 2017.

"We have today obtained a court order freezing or placing a temporary hold on the known assets in the country of former President Yahya Jammeh and companies directly associated with him," Tambadou added.

The court order concerns 88 bank accounts in Jammeh's name or those of his associates, Tambadou told journalists, along with 14 companies linked with the former strongman.

Jammeh ran everything from bakeries to farms during his tenure and was regularly accused of taking over successful businesses for his own gain.

Monday's order was designed to prevent Jammeh "liquidating or dissipating assets", the minister added, confirming the order applied only to the former leader's assets in The Gambia.

Source: Al Jazeera