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Trump sanctions Jammeh over corruption and human rights abuse

Trump sanctions Jammeh over corruption and human rights abuse


Former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh is on the latest list of U.S. sanctions under a regime that targets human rights abusers and corrupt actors across the globe.

President Donald Trump on Thursday (December 21, 2017) signed an Executive Order declaring a national emergency with respect to global human rights abuse and corruption.

As part of the order 13 persons were sanctioned whiles 39 affiliated individuals and entities were also sanctioned, according to a press releasefrom the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Treasury is freezing their assets and publicly denouncing the egregious acts they’ve committed, sending a message that there is a steep price to pay for their misdeeds.

“Today, the United States is taking a strong stand against human rights abuse and corruption globally by shutting these bad actors out of the U.S. financial system. 

“Treasury is freezing their assets and publicly denouncing the egregious acts they’ve committed, sending a message that there is a steep price to pay for their misdeeds,” said Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.

Jammeh is now living in Equatorial Guinea. He lost elections in December 2016 but attempted to annul the results. An ensuing mediation by Guinean and Mauritanian leaders saw him fly out into exile after his tenure ended in January 2017.

The full statement on Yahya Jammeh

Yahya Jammeh (Jammeh), the former President of The Gambia who came to power in 1994 and stepped down in 2017, has a long history of engaging in serious human rights abuses and corruption. 

Jammeh created a terror and assassination squad called the Junglers that answered directly to him.  Jammeh used the Junglers to threaten, terrorize, interrogate, and kill individuals whom Jammeh assessed to be threats. 

During Jammeh’s tenure, he ordered the Junglers to kill a local religious leader, journalists, members of the political opposition, and former members of the government, among others.  Jammeh used the Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA) as a repressive tool of the regime – torturing political opponents and journalists. Throughout his presidency, Jammeh routinely ordered the abuse and murder of those he suspected of undermining his authority.

During his tenure, Jammeh used a number of corrupt schemes to plunder The Gambia’s state coffers or otherwise siphon off state funds for his personal gain.  Ongoing investigations continue to reveal Jammeh’s large-scale theft from state coffers prior to his departure. 

According to The Gambia’s Justice Ministry, Jammeh personally, or through others acting under his instructions, directed the unlawful withdrawal of at least $50 million of state funds.  The Gambian Government has since taken action to freeze Jammeh’s assets within The Gambia.

Jammeh affiliated entities affected by the sanctions

In a related action, OFAC designated Africada Airways, Kanilai Group International, Kanilai Worni Family Farms Ltd, Royal Africa Capital Holding Ltd, Africada Financial Service & Bureau de Change Ltd, Africada Micro-Finance Ltd, Africada Insurance Company, Kora Media Corporation Ltd, Atlantic Pelican Company Ltd, Palm Grove Africa Dev’t Corp. Ltd, Patriot Insurance Brokers Co. Ltd, and Royal Africa Securities Brokerage Co Ltd.

Another Gambian found his way onto the list, Yankuba Badjie, a key Jammeh ally who served as the country’s spy chief is also accused to executing most of Jammeh’s deadly orders/ He is currently facing charges over the death of a leading opposition activist Solo Sandeng.

Other persons hit by the sanctions include:

  • As President of Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council, drawing a reported government salary of $60,000 per year, Roberto Jose Rivas Reyes (Rivas) has been accused in the press of amassing sizeable personal wealth, including multiple properties, private jets, luxury vehicles, and a yacht.  
  • Dan Gertler (Gertler) is an international businessman and billionaire who has amassed his fortune through hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 
  • Slobodan Tesic (Tesic) is among the biggest dealers of arms and munitions in the Balkans; he spent nearly a decade on the United Nations (UN) Travel Ban List for violating UN sanctions against arms exports to Liberia.
* In his former role as chief of the Burmese Army’s Western command, Maung Maung Soe oversaw the military operation in Burma’s Rakhine State responsible for widespread human rights abuse against Rohingya civilians in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.
  • Benjamin Bol Mel (Bol Mel) is the President of ABMC Thai-South Sudan Construction Company Limited (ABMC), and has served as the Chairman of the South Sudan Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture. 
  • Shah is a Pakistani surgeon specializing in kidney transplants who Pakistani police believe to be involved in kidnapping, wrongful confinement, and the removal of and trafficking in human organs.
  • Gulnara Karimova (Karimova), daughter of former Uzbekistan leader Islam Karimov, headed a powerful organized crime syndicate that leveraged state actors to expropriate businesses, monopolize markets, solicit bribes, and administer extortion rackets. 
  • Angel Rondon Rijo (Rondon) is a politically connected businessman and lobbyist in the Dominican Republic who funneled money from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company, to Dominican officials, who in turn awarded Odebrecht projects to build highways, dams, and other projects. 
  • Artem Chayka (Chayka) is the son of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation and has leveraged his father’s position and ability to award his subordinates to unfairly win state-owned assets and contracts and put pressure on business competitors.
  • Gao Yan (Gao) was the Beijing Public Security Bureau Chaoyang Branch director.  
  • Sergey Kusiuk (Kusiuk) was commander of an elite Ukrainian police unit, the Berkut.
  • Julio Antonio Juarez Ramirez (Juarez) is a Guatemalan Congressman accused of ordering an attack in which two journalists were killed and another injured. 
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