The authorities in the Gambia have on Monday confiscated bank accounts and assets belonging to the former President Yahya Jammeh. The action followed the authorisation from a court in the country, on Monday to freeze the assets of Yahya Jammeh, who is accused of stealing $50 million (about 44.5 million euros) from the state coffer during his 22 years as president.
Supporting the allegation, Gambia’s justice minister, Abubacarr Tambadou alleged that former President Jammeh “personally or under his instructions directed the unlawful withdrawal of at least $50 million, from the Central Bank.“ The Justice Minister went further to intimate that the funds were reportedly transferred “through the state-owned telecoms firm Gamtel into his (ex. President Jammeh`s) own personal accounts.“ Apart from the figures from the justice department, the Reuters news agency equally alleged that the former president had transferred more than $8 million from an account linked to his charity foundation (the Jammeh Foundation for Peace ) to himself. This transaction, the Reuters alleged, took place between 2012 and 2013. That is not all. The justice minister, Abubacarr Tambadou also obtained a court order to freeze amongst others, 88 bank accounts, 131 properties and 14 companies, allegedly belonging to former President Yahya Jammeh.
Although allegations of corruption and human rights abuses have been persistently leveled against the former President, unlike the alleged human rights abuses, accusations of corruption and financial mismanagement had never been proved against Jammeh until now. During his 22 years in power, the former President had lived flamboyantly, a far cry from his portrayal of himself as a pious Muslim. His private jet, fleets of limousines, mansions, etc did not match or justify his meager salary as President. With the latest seizure of Mr. Jammeh`s assets, the authorities in the Gambia seem to be gradually tying the final legal rope on the neck of the former president, who was ousted and banished in exile to The Central African republic in January, after refusing to step, following his election defeat. Definitely, cases of other undemocratic acts, including alleged torture and human rights abuses against former President Yahya Jammeh will soon start surfacing.
It will be recalled that President Yahya Jammeh unceremoniously withdrew his country`s membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC). That decision has been quickly nullified by the incumbent President Adama Barrow.
Now that the Gambia has returned as a signatory to the ICC, is former President Yahaya Jammeh`s journey to the ICC court just a matter of time, in view of mountainous allegations and cases against him? When will African leaders learn that what goes up comes down? Will African leaders ever know that their leadership position is meant to judiciously serve the people ““ not for personal aggrandizement?