Gambia freezes assets of ex-leader’s associates

Gambia freezes assets of ex-leader’s associates

A Commission probing Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh has placed an interim freeze on the assets of at least three of his closest associates to prevent them from liquidating them.

The Janneh Commission placed the freeze on Muhammed Bazzi, Amadou Samba, and Faidi Mazagi to block them from selling, mortgaging, charging or disposing of their estate.

A Justice Department official said the order affects land, interests, stocks, debentures, and shares in any of their companies or businesses in or outside The Gambia, pending further order of the Commission or the outcome of the inquiry.

The mandate of the Commission has been to April next year by Parliament, which voted to give them an additional six months to investigate the financial activities of Mr. Jammeh and his associates.

At least three witnesses, including former senior aides and a chief of staff to Jammeh, identified the men as the closest associates to the ex-autocratic ruler.

Jammeh had shares in their companies and did most of his financial and business transactions that violated regulations with the men and their companies.

At least two of Jammeh’s associates, whose assets have been frozen by the Commission, Bazzi and Mazagi have appeared before the Commission of Inquiry. Samba is expected to appear next week.

All three have been linked to the same companies, most of which operated in the energy, mining and import-export industries.

Gambian authorities in May seized Jammeh’s assets after he fled to exile. Jammeh lost elections to President Adama Barrow in December and was forced to step aside by West African troops.

Barrow’s government accused Jammeh of swindling billions and ransacking the country’s treasury of more than $50 million before his departure to exile.

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