Amendments made in the 1997 constitution of the Gambia permit Yaya Jammeh to engage into certain businesses. The old constitution permitted Sir Dawda Kairaba to engage in agricultural business only. Yaya Jammeh amended the law to permit him do much more diverse business activities. As result Yaya Jammeh acquired many properties and lands and created companies that engage in diverse business activities as exposed in the lawsuit filed to freeze his assets pending investigations and prosecution. This in a nutshell is to prevent Yaya Jammeh from disposing his assets whiles other financial misappropriations and audit investigations are ongoing.
What are these ongoing investigations?
Yaya Jammeh is accused of dipping his dirty hands into public funds by giving instructions and presidential directives to withdraw monies from SSHFC, Gamtel, GPA, GIA, GRA, NAWEC and the Central Bank of the Gambia. Jammeh is also accused of dipping his hands into project funds, grants and gifts to various ministries and departments. These monies do not belong to Yaya Jammeh.
Government is presently carrying out audits and investigations to ascertain the amounts illegally witdrawn from these public corporations, the Central Bank of the Gambia and GRA.
More importantly, GRA should also provide the amounts of customs duties lost from his various companies imports, duties lost from his personal and private imports activities, revenue lost on corporate taxes and other taxes accrued UNPAID.
Once these amounts are known reconciled and proven beyond reasonable doubt, then Yaya Jammeh should pay all sums due in full back to government.
It is therefore absolutely necessary to freeze Jammeh’s assets in preparation for payment of the future judgment sums owed to government at the end of the court cases.
What is the way forward?
By Freezing Jammeh’s assets and controlling the companies operations, government should not close them from continuing their business activities. The court should appoint the services of audit and accounting firms to create a joint management with the existing management personnel of these companies and assets and lodge the accruing revenues into accounts jointly administered by the new team.
Once all the court cases are exhausted and judgments delivered then these properties and accounts can be used to pay Government what is owed by Jammeh.
If the monies in the accounts are not sufficient then properties and businesses can be sold by public auction by the Sherriff of the Courts to complete payments of the judgment sums including interest cost and damages to government.
This legal exercise will be treated like any civil suit court case with judgments and court executions.
Government may in future also consider criminal law suit after the civil law suits are closed.
For those of you who fear that the signed amnesty document between Jammeh and Ecowas/ UN can be brandish by Jammeh, his business associates and lawyers then let them chill and wait for another day. The above mention legal exercises do not breach the agreement in the document in question.
One should always remember that Jammeh stole and misappropriated monies from our public corporations and evaded taxes. It is these monies that Government is going after to recover in full thru lawful and legal means. PERIOD.
Thank you Honorable Ba Tambedou for a job well done.
Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims especially to those tasked to recover public funds.
Written by Pa Njie Girigara