Saturday 29 April 2017

Ex-Gambian leader 'plundered €10.5m before fleeing country'

Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh waves to supporters as he departs at Banjul airport. Image: AP Photo/Jerome Delay
Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh waves to supporters as he departs at Banjul airport. Image: AP Photo/Jerome Delay

Krista Larson Gambia

Exiled Gambian ruler Yahya Jammeh stole millions of dollars in his final weeks in power, plundering state coffers and shipping luxury vehicles by plane, according to a special adviser for the new president.

Mai Ahmad Fatty, an aide to new president Adama Barrow, claimed Jammeh made off with more than €10.5m during a two-week period alone.

"The Gambia is in financial distress. The coffers are virtually empty. That is a state of fact," Mr Fatty said. "It has been confirmed by technicians in the ministry of finance and the Central Bank of the Gambia."

Mr Fatty also confirmed that a Chadian cargo plane had transported luxury goods out of the country on Jammeh's behalf in his final hours in power, including an unknown number of expensive vehicles.

Mr Fatty said officials with the new government would stop any additional belongings of Jammeh from leaving Gambia. It appeared, though, that the major damage had been done, leaving Gambia with little recourse to recoup the funds.

Jammeh, who ruled the impoverished West African nation for more than 22 years, went into exile late on Saturday night under mounting international pressure.

He is now in Equatorial Guinea, home to Africa's longest-serving ruler.

Mr Barrow, who defeated Jammeh in December elections, remains in Senegal for safety reasons after being inaugurated at Gambia's embassy there on Thursday. He has said he would come home "soon".

Irish Independent

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