Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh had been pulling out monies in several accounts and shifting them to his safe haven in Equatorial Guinea even after his ouster, a commission looking into his financial dealings found.
Jammeh had his associates withdrew $2.1 million (D86.4 million dalasis) from two accounts at the Guarantee Trust Bank in February.
Jammeh had operated a secret mining company, Alhamdoulilah Petroleum and Minerals – APAM, whose accounts were closed on February 8, just two weeks into the end of his decades-long rule.
GTBank Gambia Chief Executive Bolaji Ayodele said Jammeh withdrew $1.53 million (D61.2 million dalasis) from one of the accounts, which had $1.54 million (D61.4 million dalasis) deposited in less than two years. Less than $4,775 (D191,000 dalasis) has been left in the account by Mr. Jammeh.
An additional $660,377 (D26.4 million dalasis) that has been deposited into a special dollar account by Mr. Jammeh was also emptied on the orders of the ousted ruler.
Mr. Jammeh had also left an account at the First International Bank with about $7,500 (D300,000 dalasis) after withdrawing $335,000 (D13.4 million dalasis) from the deposited $342,500 (D13.7 million dalasis) before he fled the country.
FiBank’s CEO Modou Musa said the accounts were also tied to Jammeh’s off-book mining company, APAM, which also had a special dollar account with the bank.
Jammeh had deposited $27,000 (D1.1 million dalasis) into the account and withdrew $25,820 (D1.03 million dalasis) leaving a mere $1,200 (D48,000 dalasis) for the authorities to scavenge.
Jammeh had refused to cede power after losing elections and when it became evident that West African troops were mobilized to oust him, he used the political standoff that followed his electoral loss to rob the country.
President Barrow, who was held up in Senegal did not return to Gambia until a week after Jammeh’s departure, leaving a power vacuum in the nation.
Jammeh had total control of the government and its agencies. With his decades of exercising absolute power, it took Barrow’s government a few months to assert authority.
The lapse has given Jammeh room to sneak out as much money as possible before authorities moved to free his assets in March. He was unable to liquidate his assets and attempts to sell off his livestock led to the arrest of three of his brothers.