Former President Yahya Jammeh did not spare pensioners. That was first discovered just days after he fled the country but the extent of it was not known until Wednesday.
The Gambia’s Social Security and Finance Corporation told investigators that the ex-leader took some $42.5 million (D1.7 billion dalasis) from the corporation to finance his private business.
Most of the junk of the money that the former President Jammeh took were diverted into funding the activities of the Kanilai Group International, Jammeh’s general merchandise retailer.
According to Abdoulie Cham, the Finance Director of Social Security, Jammeh gave directives to have the funds transferred to various accounts. But where do these monies come from?
Social Security Administration says they were mostly pensioners funds. At least D259 million has also been taken from the same funds and given as loans to other state institutions.
Gambia has a long history of struggling to pay pensioners. What pensioners are paid in the country is not enough to meet living expenses. Most get barely $10, about D460 dalasis, in the local currency every month.
Money from the Social Security office is suspected to be part of the $50 million that Jammeh loaded on a plan to Equatorial Guinea.
Investigators at a Commission of Inquiry probing Jammeh’s financial activities have demanded documents from the Social Security proving these allegations.
Jammeh had given most of his orders through verbal instructions and some were documented in the form of loans, which Jammeh had refused to pay.
The former president also owes other public corporations. Managing Directors of these government agencies say demanding pay off the loans from Mr. Jammeh could have landed him in jail for a long time.