Fabakary Tombong Jatta said ex-President Jammeh’s taking of funds from the social security administration cannot be described as financial mismanagement because they were spent on national development projects.
Jatta is now the leader of Jammeh’s APRC party, assuming the role since the ex-strongman was exiled. Jammeh is being investigated by Gambian authorities for corruption.
“Have you seen anyone whose pension has not been paid? When you are a leader, it is your job that things get better with the framework you have.
However, Jatta said if monies were taken and used for personal benefits, those found culpable should pay for it.
There are no records of Jammeh being personally handed money and his signature appeared on fewer than five withdrawals out of billions taken from taxpayers.
“If taken and pocketed, then the person should pay for it. If spent on public development, then why would anyone make an issue out of it,” Jatta said.
Jammeh has taken money from Social Security to pay for rams, which were distributed for free and more than a billion was used to finance his personal business activities. The figure was, however, disputed by a former aide.
Jammeh’s properties have been seized after authorities accuse him of stealing at least $50m from the state while fleeing to exile.
Jammeh ran everything from bakeries to farms during his tenure and was regularly accused of taking over successful businesses for his own gain.