Former Gambian president among those under  corruption spotlight
Yahya Jemmeh
April 9, 2019

Former Gambian president among those under corruption spotlight

There is an old saying that “you can run but you can’t hide”. It turns out to be right on target where those accused of massive corruption, whether in the public or private sectors, are concerned.

The relentless exposures of their deeds have led to persons once considered “untouchable” to be forced to resign their positions or being kicked out and even having to flee from the course of justice.

While some of the biggest perpetrators have been able to escape prosecution, even if temporarily, international organisations like Transparency International, have through thorough research, been able to turn the spotlight on the nefarious deeds of many of the high and mighty.

In the private sector, Carlos Ghosn, who until recently was one of the kings of global industry, heading the mighty Mitsubishi-Nissan-Renault motor company alliance, is under arrest in Japan and fighting to escape the long arms of the law, whilst in Africa, infamous for the misdeeds of corrupt dictators, some of the worst culprits have been forced to flee their all-powerful posts.

Among these is Yahya Jammeh, who lorded over the West African state of Gambia for 22 years until being voted out of office in 2016. Even then he refused to leave office until being forced to do so and now lives in Equatorial Guinea under the protection of another notorious dictator, Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Documents made public by Transparency International, reveal that Jammeh and his cronies may have stolen as much as US$1 billion, the equivalent of one year’s Gross Domestic Product of his country, and more than twice as much as Gambia’s external debt.

Thousands of documents now made public, expose how the Central Bank was used as a private chequing account for Jammeh, how he raided the state pension fund, stole foreign aid money and even collaborated with financiers with links to international terrorists to launder millions of dollars.

Jammeh is not well known in the Caribbean, but he hosted a visit from then Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, James Mitchell in 1996, and then himself was the honoured guest here in 1999, on the 20th anniversary of our country’s independence.