Gambia’s President Adama Barrow on Thursday launched a probe into corruption and financial mismanagement by the country’s ex-leader, Yahya Jammeh.
Barrow officially sworn-in a three-member commission of inquiry to look into the former ruler’s assets and his businesses at the State House.
“I have full confidence that the Commission will, in its impartial deliberations shed light on the allegations against the former president and his associates,” said Mr. Barrow.
Gambia’s Justice Department is overseeing the investigation and say it is not a witch-hunt on any former official but a proper investigation into abuse of office, mismanagement of public funds, and willful violation of the constitution.
A court in Banjul froze Jammeh’s assets in May, a move that has prevented the liquidation of at least 131 properties, 14 companies, and 88 bank accounts.
Jammeh has ruled the tiny silver of a country for 22 years and stands accused of swindling billions during his reign.
Gambia’s Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh revealed to parliament that Jammeh had siphoned more than $147 million in the last three years of his rule and fled the country with at least $50 million to Equatorial Guinea.
Parliament last month approved the sale of four of Mr. Jammeh’s presidential jets to recover at least $11.8 million dollars to help the new government address budgetary constraints.
The World Bank is helping the West African nation to recover some of its stolen assets and authorities are in a race to have Jammeh’s mansion in the United States seized.
Jammeh ran everything from bakeries to farms during his tenure and was regularly accused of taking over successful businesses for his own gain.
Jammeh was defeated by President Barrow in a December presidential election, a result which the defeated leader fought for weeks until the threat of a regional military intervention sent him packing.