The Gambia: $11m missing after Jammeh flies into exile

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*Jammeh and body guards as he prepares to fly out of The Gambia *Photo credit: Reuters

More than $11m (£8.8m) is missing from The Gambia’s state coffers following the departure of long-time leader Mr. Yahya Jammeh, an adviser to President Adama Barrow has said.

Mai Ahmad Fatty said financial experts were trying to evaluate the exact loss.

Luxury cars and other items were reportedly loaded on to a Chadian cargo plane as Mr. Jammeh left the country.

Mr. Jammeh has not commented and the BBC has not independently verified the claims.

He had refused to accept election results but finally left after mediation by regional leaders and the threat of military intervention.

President Barrow remains in neighbouring Senegal and it is not clear when he will return.

However, West African troops entered the Gambian capital, Banjul, on Sunday to prepare for his arrival.

Cheering crowds gathered outside the State House to watch soldiers secure the building.

The Senegalese general leading the joint force from five African nations said they were controlling “strategic points to ensure the safety of the population and facilitate… Mr. Barrow’s assumption of his role.”

Mr. Fatty told reporters in the Senegalese capital Dakar that The Gambia was in financial distress.

“The coffers are virtually empty,” he said. “It has been confirmed by technicians in the ministry of finance and the Central Bank of the Gambia.”

He said Mr. Jammeh had made off with more than $11m in the past two weeks alone.

Mr. Fatty said officials at The Gambia’s main airport had been told not to let any of Mr. Jammeh’s belongings leave the country.

Reports said some of the former leader’s goods were in Guinea where Mr. Jammeh had stopped on his journey into exile.

Mr. Jammeh is reported to now be in Equatorial Guinea, although authorities there have not confirmed it.

The former leader had initially accepted Mr. Barrow’s election win on 1 December, but later alleged “irregularities” and called for a fresh vote.

The move was internationally condemned and the UN-backed Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) issued an ultimatum for him to quit or be removed by force.

Meanwhile, indications have emerged that a plane belonging to the Nigeria’s national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu was used to fly ex-Gambian President, Mr. Jammeh out of the country.

Nigeria’s Vanguard learnt that the gesture was in furtherance of the reconciliatory efforts of ECOWAS, in the country where Jammeh’s refusal to relinquish power led to political crisis.

It was learnt that upon being contacted for the use of the aircraft, Tinubu, who was in Conakry at that time, agreed on condition that it should only be used for the purpose in order to restore peace and democracy in the country.

The VP-CBT Falcon jet, which had been with Guinean President, Alpa Conde for days, was stationed in Banjul to ferry Jammeh out of the country after 22 years in power.

Vanguard further gathered that Tinubu is a personal friend of President Conde.

Conde and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz had spent much of Friday in Banjul persuading Jammeh to leave power.

A BBC report on Saturday at 10.30 pm said the plane had taken off for Guinea with Jammeh, his family and President Conde on board.

The former Gambian leader was flown to Conakry where he would temporarily stay before leaving for Equatorial Guinea where he would live in exile.

West African leaders did not agree to immunity for Jammeh during negotiations that convinced Gambia’s longtime ruler to flee into exile, Senegal’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

Jammeh, who is accused of serious rights violations, led his country for 22 years but refused to accept defeat in a December election. He flew out of the capital Banjul late on Saturday as a regional military force was poised to remove him.

Sources: BBC NEWS, VANGUARD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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