Gambia is making a move to freeze erstwhile president, Yahya Jammeh’s international assets just days after securing a court order freezing his domestic properties.
According to a Gambia government official, authorities in the West African nation have contacted the U.S. Embassy in Banjul and reaching out to the U.S. Justice Department to have Jammeh’s assets, including a mansion valued at at least $3.5 million seized.
Jammeh has businesses and homes spread across the globe. He reportedly owns mansions in France, Eastern Europe, Morrocco, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
“The government will be going after all of these properties and as investigations continue into his transactions and businesses, all of his hidden assets will be discovered,” the official, who we cannot name because he is not authorized to speak, said.
The U.S. has a law that helps to seize assets from officials who stole their countries’ wealth, the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, an effort by the United States to seize assets owned by kleptocrats — government officials who use their countries’ wealth to enrich themselves.
Some $3 billion, involving nations worldwide, has been frozen by the program — including a Malibu mansion and a $500,000 Ferrari owned by a member of Equatorial Guinea’s ruling family, the Obiangs, who are Jammeh’s neighbor in Potomac and Malabo.
Jammeh’s Moroccan wife, Zineb Jammeh last visited Washington in February and is suspected of trying to sell the home in the affluent Falconhaurst neighborhood.
Gambia’s Attorney General, Aboubacarr Baa Tambadou said Jammeh fled the country with at least $50 million but the former ruler is suspected to have mismanaged billions during his 22-year rule.
Gambia, in its first anti-graft move against Jammeh on Monday, secured a court order freezing his local assets, which affected 14 companies and 88 bank accounts, and saw some 130 landed properties put under state custody.
Jammeh lost elections to opposition rival, Adama Barrow. After refusing to cede power, Jammeh fled the country to Equatorial Guinea when West African troops were deployed to flush him out of the capital, Banjul.
He fled the Gambia shipping luxury cars and goods on a Chadian cargo plane. Jammeh lived a lavish lifestyle often giving away millions as gifts to musicians and actors from around the world.