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Exiled Jammeh's assets frozen, accused of stealing over $50m state funds

Exiled Jammeh's assets frozen, accused of stealing over $50m state funds

Gambia

Over 200 assets of exiled former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh have been frozen in The Gambia after discovery that he illegally withdrew millions of dollars of state money.

Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou told journalists in Banjul on Monday that Yahya Jammeh unlawfully withdrew over $50 million from two state accounts between 2006 and 2017.

In total, he withdrew “189,000,000 ($4m) from funds belonging to Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation … and at least $50,000,000 from Special Projects Fund and International Gateway Accounts at the Central Bank of The Gambia,” Tambadou said.

“These are only preliminary findings at this stage and all indications are that these discoveries are just a tip of the iceberg … May I state however that this list of assets frozen is by no means exhaustive,” Tambadou added.

These are only preliminary findings at this stage and all indications are that these discoveries are just a tip of the iceberg ... May I state however that this list of assets frozen is by no means exhaustive.

Among the assets frozen included 131 land properties, 88 bank accounts, 14 companies and an undisclosed number of livestock.

He said the freezing of the assets is to prevent Jammeh from liquidating them while investigations are ongoing to find other assets associated with him.

Yahya Jammeh, who is in the Equatorial Guinea, has earlier been accused of embezzling millions of dollars immediately after he left the country.

Below are portions of the statement regarding the freezing of assets.

We have today obtained a court order freezing or placing a temporary hold on the known assets in the country of former President Yahya Jammeh and companies directly associated with him.

The freezing order affects:

131 landed properties held in the personal name of former President Yahya Jammeh or companies directly associated with him.

88 different bank accounts held in the personal name of former President Yahya Jammeh or held in the names of organizations directly associated with him;

14 companies purportedly belonging to or directly associated with former President Yahya Jammeh;

A number of animals and livestock purportedly belonging to former President Yahya Jammeh.

_The application for the freezing order was necessitated by the discovery of unauthorized withdrawals of millions of dalasis and foreign currencies by former President Yahya Jammeh. _

_For example, preliminary investigations have revealed that between 2006 and 2017, former President Yahya Jammeh personally or under his instructions directed the unlawful withdrawal of at least 189,000,000 from funds belonging to Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation. _

_Between 2013 and 2017, former President Yahya Jammeh personally or under his instructions directed the unlawful withdrawal of at least $50,000,000 from Special Projects Fund and International Gateway Accounts at the Central Bank of The Gambia. _

Again, these are only preliminary findings at this stage and all indications are that these discoveries are just a tip of the iceberg.

The freezing order is therefore meant to prevent former President Yahya Jammeh from liquidating or dissipating assets held in his personal name or his assets held in the names of his close associates or agents so as not to cause prejudice to the State should there be adverse findings made against him by a court of competent jurisdiction which may require the recovery of assets and monies from him by the State.

_May I state however that this list of assets frozen is by no means exhaustive. Investigations are still ongoing and if we find other assets purportedly belonging to former President Yahya Jammeh or to companies or organizations directly associated with him in this country which are not already included in this freezing order, we shall also take immediate appropriate action. _

We therefore request anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of any assets of former President Yahya Jammeh or of companies or organizations directly associated with him to come forward and share this information with the nearest police station.

Any person who is in possession of assets purportedly belonging to former President Yahya Jammeh and who fails to disclose this may be committing an offence. We therefore urge you to approach the nearest police station within 48 hours after this press briefing to report this information.

As I also stated previously, we are finalizing the draft terms of reference for the establishment of a commission of inquiry to look into the financial and business related activities of former President Yahya Jammeh.

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