After 22 years in power, Yahya Jammeh, who lost Gambia’s December 1 polls finally agreed to step down and go on exile on Saturday 20th January. The report on Gambia’s missing millions arose shortly after Mr. Jammeh flew out of the Gambia on Saturday.
An adviser to President Adama Barrow, Mai Ahmad Fatty, is alleging that over $11 million is missing from Gambia’s coffers after the departure of Yahya Jammeh. Mr. Ahmad Fatty said that financial experts were still trying to evaluate the exact amount missing.
The people of Gambia who voted in new President Adama Barrow and the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) were involved in a long drawn out battle of wits with Yahya Jammeh as they attempted to influence him to step down.
Military intervention had been a final point of call that was suspended for a final talk in which democracy won the day. It was a victory worth celebrating, but Gambia’s missing millions call into question the decision to just let Yahya Jammeh walk free, albeit, into exile.
As Jammeh left the country on Saturday night, luxury cars and other items were seen being loaded on to a Chadian cargo plane. Mr. Ahmad Fatty spoke to reporters in Senegal’s capital, telling them that the Gambia was now in financial distress. According to him;
“The coffers are virtually empty,”
“It has been confirmed by technicians in the ministry of finance and the Central Bank of the Gambia.”
Mr. Ahmad Fatty also alleged that Gambia’s missing millions are in the possession of Yahya Jammeh who he says was able to make off with more than $11m in the past two weeks alone. He said that officials at The Gambia’s main airport had been told not to let any of Mr Jammeh’s belongings leave the country.
Yahya Jammeh is said to currently be in Equatorial Guinea as he continues his journey into exile, and is also said to have some of his good with him there. Authorities in Guinea have, however, not confirmed the reports.
Meanwhile, President Adama Barrow is still in Senegal and it has not been ascertained when exactly he will return. West African troops are, however, in Banjul, the Gambian capital, to prepare for his arrival.
A Senegalese general leading the joint force from five African nations said they were controlling “strategic points to ensure the safety of the population and facilitate… Mr Barrow’s assumption of his role”.
One cannot help but wonder how much this issue of Gambia’s missing millions will be pursued by the new administration and what form their attempts to reclaim the money will take.
Is Yahya Jammeh setting himself up for trouble?
Let us know what you think.