Gambia’s Attorney General Aboubacarr Tambadou has told lawmakers in the West African nation’s capital that the decision of the Commission scrutinizing former President Yahya Jammeh financial activities to auction the livestock of the demoralized ex-leader was not illegal.
According to Mr. Tambadou, the country’s Livestock Department has been managing the livestock on Mr. Jammeh’s various Kanilai Farms and does not have the capacity to maintain the herds.
Lawmakers, most of whom are in support of the inquiry into Jammeh’s financial dealings were told that the decision will manage the risk of the cows getting too old [thus getting under valued], dying or even being stolen or slaughtered.
But Tambadou said the cows will be sold to prevent a loss for the state and even for ex-President Jammeh if not sold. However, the sale has been temporarily deferred, pending a court injunction from the High Court, which seized Jammeh’s assets in May last year.
“If the Commission comes back with recommendations that they rightfully belong to him, they will or should be returned to him [ex-President Jammeh], but if they die or dissipate all of them then, of course, he [Jammeh] also loses when the decision is made”, said Tambadou.
The former ruling party, APRC said the attempt by the Commission to sell off Jammeh’s livestock illegal and unjustifiable, demanding it does not proceed until the Commission concludes all of its findings.
Jammeh is accused of siphoning billions from the Gambia’s Reserve Bank, abusing his office, disregarding financial regulations and corruption. His supporters say it is a witch-hunt to tarnish the image of the ex-strongman and to bankrupt him.
The U.S. has placed sanctions on Jammeh [who is in exile in Equatorial Guinea] and his businesses, stopping Americans from doing business with him and seizing his assets in the country. The Department of Treasury cited corruption and human rights abuses for the restrictions.
Gambian authorities have accused Jammeh of stealing at least $50 million in the months leading to a military intervention from West African forces to flush him out of power. A Commission is investigating his financial activities during his more than two-decade rule of the country.