The Gambia’s Police Chief Yankuba Sonko has been instructed by the new government to visit all public institutions and ‘examine their current state,’ according to Halifa Sallah, a senior government official.
“The inspector general of police was asked to go to all public enterprises, all public institutions to examine their current state,” Sallah said.
President Adama Barrow and a senior aide said the country’s coffers had been emptied by former ruler Yahya Jammeh.
Sallah said allegation of theft will be passed on to the inspector general of police, who would investigate and press charges against the accused who also must be presumed to be innocent until a trial takes place.
President Jammeh and his officials have been accused by pro-democracy watchdogs of corrupt practices and illicit business deals.
Official corruption and impunity are serious problems, and government officials reportedly participate in drug trafficking. President Jammeh’s erratic rule through a combination of patronage and repression was a factor in an attempted coup in late 2014.
The Gambia is Africa’s smallest country. On its Atlantic coast, it’s less than 50 kilometers wide, stretching towards Mali at just over 300 kilometers in length.
A snaking river runs through it that accounts for some 11 per cent of the total land area. A journey along the River Gambia, towards the former slave town of Janjanbureh, reveals decaying or abandoned groundnut farms and factories that should be contributing to a slim GDP.