British authorities have pledged to find its former colony’s assets stolen by its ousted ruler Yahya Jammeh and return it to the people of the impoverished West African nation.
UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is seeking to partner with the Gambia to tackle corruption and put the country back on an even keel.
Gambian authorities are already investigating allegations that the former President smuggled millions of dollars worth of assets out of the country before his departure, Liz McInnes, Britain’s Minister for Africa said.
Britain’s parliament has passed legislations that crackdown on foreign leaders and officials who launder stolen wealth to the UK.
“We will seek cross-party support in the House of Commons to ensure that these stolen assets are returned to the people of the Gambia,” said Alieu Badara Ceesay.
Ceesay, a political activist wants former President Jammeh and all those involved in the theft to be pursued by the UK and their ill-gotten assets frozen.
Gambia’s finance minister confirmed Jammeh embezzled more than $300 million between 2015 and his last days in office. President Adama Barrow said the nation was virtually insolvent with less than $15 left in the treasury.
The European Union stepped in unfreezing at least €37 million in budgetary support and giving €150 million in development aid.
Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty has vowed that the missing billions will be recovered, even if it means “going into Equatorial Guinea to bring someone back.”
Jammeh fled the country leaving the small nation with a debt of US$1.9 billion, as much as his reported net worth and twice more than the country’s Gross Domestic Product.