Gambia’s ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh bought tents costing $2.1 million (88.36 million dalasis) for his outdoor presidential events and festivities.
Jammeh spends million having entertaining himself and his supporters at his official residence, the State House in Banjul or at his private presidential palace in his native home of Kanilai.
The special tents, which were massive and air-conditioned were seen being used on several occasions by the former ruler, mostly for the celebration of his birthdays and special Islamic praise singing festivities.
Commissioners and the lead Counsel at the Janneh Commission were left in a state of awe at hearing the cost of the tents. They had to ask the Central Bank’s Principal Banking Officer if he is certain that the documents indicate the purchase of tents for tens of millions of dalasis.
Jammeh’s government had said it did not have enough funding to increase salaries of civil servants, provide additional financing for healthcare and to stabilize the foreign currency reserved.
Jammeh had made most of his transactions in U.S. dollars taking millions of the Central Bank and other state enterprises, including the social security cooperation, where he scavenged funds from monies meant to pay pensioners.
Gambia is one of Africa’s poorest nations and largely dependant on foreign aid from its development partners like the European Union, the World Bank, UN and the IMF.
At least 74 percent of rural dwellers are poor, Jammeh’s government overspending pegged at 78 percent. More than 65 percent have no access to electricity and some 60 percent need access to improved sanitation.
The number of Gambian asylum seekers in Europe between 2008 and 2015 went up to 21,330 – most of them youths who risked their lives through the ‘back way’ due to Jammeh’s governance and economic failures.
Since he was ousted, some 350 Gambians seeking to reach Europe have returned home and the country’s foreign exchange reserve has increased by five folds from $19.84 million to $112.2 million.