Gambian President Yahya Jammeh makes his way to a meeting during the Eleventh Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, July 1, 2008, during the African Union Summit. The summit focused on the increase in food prices and agricultural commodities and the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock/Released)

Jammeh robbed Gambia of its tax revenue

Former President Yahya Jammeh had robbed the Gambia of millions of dollars in tax revenue opening bank accounts with no connection to the state’s tax authority.

Jammeh had opened accounts with Trust Bank and GTBank following the findings of a task force into the tax evasion to give him direct access to millions of recovered tax money.

He had given directives to the chief executives of the banks to open tax recovery accounts, where monies collected from those with tax arrears was deposited.

The Commission General of the Gambia Revenue Authority, Yankuba Darboe said he had no inside knowledge of the accounts and does not know who were the signatories to them.

How financial transactions, including withdrawals from the accounts, were made remains a mystery, yet to be uncovered by the Commission of Inquiry set up to probe allegations of corruption and theft against the ex-leader.

Darboe said many companies and individuals have disputed the revenue authority’s audit of their taxes, alleging that they have paid payments, an indication that the past due taxes had been paid directly to Mr. Jammeh.

The exact figures in the tax recovery accounts opened by Jammeh has not been disclosed but Trust Bank corporate director, Babou Awe tendered the four-year account statement to Commission of Inquiry.

The Gambia Revenue Authority maintains its domestic and international accounts with the country’s Central Bank, although it has agreements with several commercial banks to issue receipts for tax payments.

Gambia’s government is trying to ascertain the depth of Jammeh’s reach into the country’s financial systems, which he has ostensibly driven into a near bankruptcy.

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