Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh has spent more than a million dollars on a ghost college project, the Commission investigating the ex-authoritarian ruler found.
According to the country’s former deputy parliament speaker, Fatou Mbaye, Mr. Jammeh allegedly used D47.4 million dalasis [$1.03 million dollars] to establish the Kanilai Institute of Technology.
So far, investigations have shown that millions more meant for the so-called technology institute from Taiwan was also squandered by the exiled leader, who had ruled Gambia with an iron-fist for at least two decades.
According to her, the said institute was initiated by the former president purposely to improve the teaching of maths, science and technology in the country. However, she said the name of the institute was initially changed by the former president.
She testified that the former president was invited by Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) and GTTI was to oversee the construction which was awarded to a contractor in 2007.
At least $10 million dollars was put aside for the project, said Mrs. Mbaye and even contracts for the construction of the college were given out. We found that although these contracts were issued, they did not go through a bid or the tender board.
She disclosed that the cheques received went into the GTTI account and the project did not complete because the contract stopped, noting that the D37, 189,146 did not include the external works, notwithstanding, they continued paying the salary of the night watchman.
The institute, which sits in Jammeh’s native home in southwest Gambia is partly built. At least half a million dollars was spent on building student dormitories but Taiwan freeze funding to Jammeh, angering the former president and forcing him to sever ties with Taipei.
Jammeh is accused of diverting millions meant for projects and for humanitarian services that would benefit Gambians to his private use, especially by his Moroccan wife, Zineb Jammeh, who is often spotted in malls around the U.S capital, Washington.