Gambia’s finance minister to divulge extent of theft, corruption under Jammeh

Gambia’s Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh will on Monday reveal the extent of theft and corruption under former President Yahya Jammeh’s regime.

Jammeh who fled the country in January reportedly emptied the treasury and made away with about US$12 million during the last days of his regime.

Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow said last month that less than US$5 has been left in the country’s treasury and called for budgetary support from the international community.

The nearly insolvent nation was left to scramble for international aid, which mostly came from the European Union to help him give a kick to its economy and pay salaries.

Jammeh in July had fired at least 27 senior officials of his administrations, accusing them of corruption. But the longtime ruler has not being absolved of the same crime, being named the ringleader.

Jammeh and his officials have been accused of doing hostile takeovers of businesses and properties, including lands and vehicles imported by individuals.

Theft in the government has left large financial deficits in government agencies and public enterprises. It remains an acute problem with regulatory inefficiency continuing to hamper accountability.

Officials have been taking bribes to award contracts and paying themselves benefits that are now unaccounted for, according to the Auditor General’s report.

Basic institutional corruption and citizen bribery have become commonplace. Gambia scored 28 points out of 100 on the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.

(Reporting by Saikou Jammeh; Writing by Sam Phatey; Editing by Sainey Marenah)

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