US says it will support Gambia in pursuit of recovering Jammeh govn’t ill-gotten gains

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EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: In just few moments after Gambia government released a 93-page report of the Commission of Inquiry on Friday, United States government said it will continue the work well under way to pursue available legal means to support Gambian government’s efforts to recover the identified ill-gotten gains of former President Yahya Jammeh’s administration.

Through her Banjul Embassy, the US government applauded the full release of the report and the Cabinet white paper, saying it is crucial that the asset recovery process be undertaken in a similarly transparent fashion to assure Gambian people that recovered assets are being properly accounted for and accrue to the public benefit.

President Adama Barrow established the three-member Commission of Inquiry in July 2017, to probe into financial activities of public bodies, enterprises and offices as regards to their dealings with the country’s former President, Yahya Jammeh.

The report indicts several former officials of the Jammeh government, including his one-time Presidential affairs minister Momodou Sabally, on misappropriation of millions of Gambian dalasis and foreign currencies. It also indicted Jammeh himself who took the largest chunk of the misappropriation deal.

Mr. Jammeh and his government have been accused of adverse financial mismanagement during his 22-year dictatorship rule, which also bankrupted the country’s economy. During the sittings of the Commission of Inquiry, his one-time Presidential affairs minister Dr. Njogu Lamin Bah, who is also indicted by the report described Jammeh of having “real” appetite for money

“The investigation of financial crimes is extremely complex, requiring specialized knowledge and training.  We urge the Gambian public and civil society to invest the time to understand fully the complexities of the investigation and report, referencing the original Act that established the Commission of Inquiry, and the legal thresholds required to establish facts meeting evidentiary standards under Gambian law,” a statement from the Embassy’s Public Affairs Office said.

The released report suggest that Momodou Sabally should not serve in any public office again or be appointed as director for any State Owned Enterprise for at least ten years and suggest for his banning from holding public office for the remainder of his life.

It also warned Mr. Jammeh’s former Cabinet secretary Noah Touray against involvement in the financial transactions of his former boss which, it says was not part of his official duties as secretary to cabinet.

The US government says it is renewing her recommendation that government authorities work closely and expeditiously with civil society organizations and the National Assembly to develop strong legislation, strong regulations, and strong rule of law-based investigative and prosecutorial mechanisms to better ensure that persons who abuse their positions of public trust to greedily benefit themselves are held accountable.  “Trust by the Gambian people in their government will be bolstered by vigorous, transparent action to do so.”

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