According to OCCRP, and other media outlets, for more than two decades of rule, the past president Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, a tiny West African country known for tropical beaches and tranquility in a region often rocked by conflict, did nothing much but pillage the country, and I add, a whole lot of screaming for the throat slitting of homosexuals. It is said he stole in excess of $300,000,000! He is yet to be charged. Jammeh seized power in a 1994 coup d’etat, and then fled The Gambia in 2017 for exile in Equatorial Guinea as an African regional force closed in on the capital Banjul to enforce his election loss to President Adama Barrow.
Jammeh quickly became a dictator after taking power in the coup. His administration was implicated in widespread human rights abuses and several waves of brutal crackdowns on dissent. And his bizarre personality drew headlines around the world after he gave himself five titles and claimed to be able to cure AIDS.
Throughout his years in power, Jammeh flaunted his wealth. His lavish private estate in his home village was home to exotic animals, a military training camp and scores of luxury vehicles. He was known to drive a stretch Hummer around the country and he travelled in private jets.
But most of Jammeh’s financial dealings remained hidden — until now.
In a series of stories, OCCRP exposes for the first time how Jammeh and his associates plundered nearly US$1 billion of timber resources and Gambia’s public funds. Tens of thousands of documents — including government correspondence, contracts, bank records, internal investigations, and legal documents — lay bare the true scale of the theft.
Jammeh’s powerful inner circle helped him to solidify his power. He formed lucrative partnerships with foreign businessmen, including Mohamed Bazzi, a Lebanese businessman and financier for the Hezbollah militant group, that would pave the way for the looting of nearly $364 million from the state-run telecoms company. He also worked with two Romanian businessmen, Nicolae and Dragos Buzaianu, to secure $325.5 million in illicit timber revenue.
The former president played China and Taiwan against each other to obtain more than $100 million of bilateral aid that was dished out with few questions asked.
The Gambian people paid the biggest price for Jammeh’s corruption as he stole $60 million from the country’s pension fund.
To this day, Jammeh has never been charged with a crime.
POSTED BY MELANIE NATHAN
Divorce and Family Mediation: http://www.privatecourts.com
Advocacy: African Human Rights Coalition
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