Gambia – Yahya Jammeh not Benedict Jammeh ordered the seizure of Holgam, a property worth over 30 million dalasis belonging to a retired Gambian banker in 2012, an investigation by Freedom has revealed.

According to the investigation, Benedict Jammeh, former director general of the NDEA who implemented Yahya Jammeh’s directive was later arrested and charged with bogus abuse of office charges.

He later jumped bail in what was a sham trial.

The investigation revealed that Yahya Jammeh infringed on the property rights of the retired banker without following due process.

It revealed further that this amounted to an abuse of powers by the country’s number one citizen.

The seizure came after a drug trafficking syndicate was burst by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in 2010.

The unsuspecting banker had rented part of his property to the suspected drug traffickers.

Yahya has since refused to return the man’s property even after the latter had been absolved of any wrongdoing in the drug trafficking case, and had made many appeals to him to return his property.

Instead what Yahya has done is to turn the place into one of the country’s most dangerous detention centres.

Holgam Fishing Company is based in Kanifing South in the Kanifing Municipality of Gambia. It is now one of Yahya Jammeh’s many secret detention centres in Gambia – where Gambians are detained and tortured.

A Daily News’ investigation into the detention of the former village head of Bafuloto in 2010 revealed that, despite a security officers denial of the former Alkalo (village head) being detained at the former company, he was bailed from the former company.

The detention of people in unknown detention camps in places like Holgam Fishing Company is not sending a good signal to the populace. Legal prisons or detention camps should not take any clandestine form so that detainees’ families and loved ones could at least be sure of their whereabouts.

The case of the former Alkalo of Bafuloto is a case in point. This old man has been detained at the former Holgam Fishing Company on Saturday morning 4th December and only released on Tuesday afternoon 7th December. His fundamental human rights were violated.

What the authorities of this country fail to understand is that credibility of a government is hard-earned but easily lost. Any system that arrests, detains and releases people without consideration of the supreme law of the land that guarantees their fundamental human rights is not sowing a futuristic seed of human rights.

Before his release, some family members of the former Alkalo Alhagie Sanna Manku Saidy wondered whether the detention of their elder at Holgam Fishing Company was really true. They could not visualise the rationale behind detaining such an old person (a man in his 80s) to be detained in a place known to be a fishing company. Some family members went to the extent of doubting whether they would meet the old man again on this earth.

The tradition of people being arrested, detained, released after their fundamental human rights have already been violated is gross disrespect for the rule of law and an affront to the personal liberty of the people.

Written By A Correspondent

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