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The Gambia: Back and forth about whether Jammeh shipped out cash


A spokesperson of the Gambian President, Adama Barrow, has stated that the country’s central bank remained “intact” as at Monday (January 23).

The position of Halifa Sallah, contradicts that of another official of the government who disclosed on Monday morning that former ruler, Yahya Jammeh, virtually emptied the state coffers before leaving the country on Saturday.

“There had been information to the public about the central bank. It was of particular concern but the inspector general (of) police told me that everything is intact,” Halifa Sallah told a news conference in Gambia’s capital Banjul.

There had been information to the public about the central bank. It was of particular concern but the inspector general (of) police told me that everything is intact.

‘‘Allegation of theft etc cannot just be made by any member of an executive. It is not the domain of the executive.

‘‘Allegation of anything that is a crime must be passed on to the inspector general of police and they are the competent authority that should conduct investigation of anything reported to them and eventually prefer charges against the accused who also must be presumed to be innocent until la trial takes place before we actually find them guilty of a crime,’‘ Sallah further stated.

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Speaking on Sunday (January 22) to radio station RFM in Senegal, President Barrow is reported to have said that initial inspection of the apex bank indicated that Jammeh had looted state resources.

American cable television network CNN quotes Barrow as saying, ‘‘This is the information I’m also getting, but we want to get to the bottom of it, we want to get the documents in my hand and we will elaborate on it, I have to be be in contact with the Central Bank to confirm.’‘

His advisor Mai Ahmad Fatty later told journalists Jammeh had withdrawn 500 million dalasis ($11.51 million) in the past two weeks. Monday marked the first working day in Gambia since ex-ruler Yahya Jammeh fled into exile late on Saturday (January 21) after 22 years in power.

“The coffers are virtually empty … within two weeks, 500 million dalasi (over $10 million) have been withdrawn,” Mai Ahmad Fatty is quoted to have said.

Soldiers from a West African regional force entered Gambia’s presidential compound, State House, the symbolic seat of Jammeh’s regime, on Sunday (January 22) after he left for Equatorial Guinea via Conakry on Saturday night.

“Because of the situation of the State House, work is being done, reliable security apparatus is being created, and that aspect seems to have already been consolidated and so one must look at the State House and see what to do to (…) sanitize the institution,“ Sallah added.

Jammeh’s exit ends rising tension as thousands of troops from Senegal and Nigeria who entered Gambia on Thursday (January 19) were poised to swoop on the capital Banjul and force him out. President Barrow, who was sworn in at the Gambian embassy in Senegal last week is also set to return to resume work as third president of The Gambia.

The initiative to force Jammeh out will likely be viewed as a triumph for African diplomacy and could set a precedent in a region where democracy advocates have spent decades pressing for fair elections and an end to authoritarian regimes.

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