Gambia’s Department of Justice has not launched a probe into the workings of the country’s sacked security minister following allegations of corruption.
Attorney General Aboubacarr Ba Tambadou said reports of a criminal investigation against Mai Ahmad Fatty are unfounded just hours after the former minister and politician vehemently denied taking bribes from a Belgian company.
“The Ministry of Justice rejects this report as completely unfounded and insensitive to the family of Hon. Mai Ahmad Fatty who must be going through a difficult time,” the department said in a statement.
Fatty was kicked out of President Adama Barrow’s cabinet on Friday. The State House chose to stay mute over reasons for his dismissal. Corruption allegation reports emerged just hours later on several online newspapers.
Fatty on Tuesday denied taking any bribe from Semelex, rubbishing the allegations as rumors being spread by his enemies designed to ruin his reputation.
Fatty is the first senior official in Barrow’s new government to be sent packing. His political adversaries are pressuring the Department of Justice – specifically the State Intelligence Agency to investigate Fatty bringing up past allegations of fraud.
The advocacy for a criminal probe of Mai Ahmad Fatty marked a significant push in the political landscape of the country, which is transitioning from autocratic to democratic rule.
Fatty pushed the traditional boundaries that politicians use to shield themselves from investigations by urging authorities to launch an unprecedented vigorous investigation.
“I am confident that I am innocent. Anything that is said out there is just rumors being spread by my enemies and there is no iota of truth in whatever they are saying. The truth will always triumph,” Fatty said.
Fatty is the leader of The Gambia Moral Congress, one of the parties that backed Mr. Barrow in last year’s election that saw ex-President Yahya Jammeh handed a shocking defeat.
He accused Jammeh of stealing at least $12 million while fleeing the country and demanded that vehicles being shipped by the ex-leader be impounded.
The unpredictable Jammeh, known for startling declarations like his claim that bananas and herbal rubs could cure AIDS is now in Equatorial Guinea, home to Africa’s longest-serving ruler and not a state party to the International Criminal Court.
Gambian authorities have seized his assets and are selling off his three private presidential jets to recover some of the loot. A Commission is probing his financial activities.
President Barrow has vowed to curb corruption, which was rife in Jammeh’s era and enforce the rule of law. He has so far fulfilled his pledge to reverse many of Jammeh’s actions, returning the Gambia to the Commonwealth and the ICC.