Article researched and compiled by David Zulu
Gambians today awoke to the shocking news of their former dictator Yahya Jammeh and his closest associates having stolen One Billion American Dollars of public resources from his poverty stricken West African nation of the Gambia.
Yahya Jammeh who once boasted that he would rule for a billion years went into exile in Equatorial Guinea after being defeated in an election. As part of the deal to relinquish power, Jammeh left with two chartered giant cargo planes loaded with luxuries which included a fleet of cars, tonnes and tonnes of bars of gold and hard cash in foreign currency.
Jammeh a former Army Captain who took over power through a military coup, became extremely rich within a period of 3 years of his rule.
Investigations have revealed that the former President who ruled the tiny West African nation for slightly over 20 years, often targeted the Central Bank, the Gambian Telecommunication Company Gamtel, the Nation’s power utility company and other aid related organizations which he siphoned cash from through third parties.
For example, documents showed that over a period of two years, at least $35m was extracted from an account referred to as “3M” at the US financial services firm Citibank, set up to receive aid from Taiwan and China. The money was reportedly distributed to about 20 of his Presidential aides, surrogates and close family members.
Some of the funds were spent on luxuries for Jammeh, including a palace with a private mosque or invested in high profile prestige projects such as a tribute concert to Michael Jackson in 2010 after the singer’s death.
Gambians are now calling for his extradition to face justice for the theft and murders of thousands of political opponents that were buried in mass graves that have been discovered around the country. They have further demanded that the money be recovered.