DAKAR Resources from a greenback financial institution account in the name of the Jammeh Basis for Peace, a charity started by Gambia’s previous president Yahya Jammeh, flowed to Jammeh himself, not to basis jobs, in accordance to financial institution documents and interviews with a previous charity formal and a previous presidential personnel member.
In 2012 and 2013, more than $eight million was paid into the account at Gambia’s Belief Financial institution. Above 50 % of the money was withdrawn in cash, Reuters has found.
Reuters was unable to decide whether donors intended to assist the charity, or if donors, charity officers and the financial institution were aware that Jammeh was employing the account to construct his own prosperity. Reuters could not decide how the withdrawn money was invested.
Gambia’s new government has accused the previous president of plundering numerous millions of bucks for the duration of his 22-12 months rule. On Monday, Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh claimed Jammeh experienced committed fraud on a massive scale which includes siphoning off tens of millions of bucks in community money into a variety of financial institution accounts not in his name but from which he withdrew cash, which includes at the central financial institution.
The Jammeh Basis for Peace’s previous deputy CEO, Modou Lamin Manga, informed Reuters that the charity did not at the time acquire donations by means of the greenback account, which was 1 of two accounts held in the foundation’s name at Belief Financial institution for the duration of Manga’s tenure from 2010 to 2015. Manga was allow go from the basis for the duration of layoffs in 2015.
The Jammeh Basis for Peace did not respond to several requests for remark. An formal at Gambia’s Belief Financial institution Ltd, who declined to be named, verified the basis banked there but declined to give even further information.
Makes an attempt to make contact with Jammeh in Equatorial Guinea, exactly where he fled into exile previous month just after an election defeat, were unsuccessful.
Edward Gomez, Jammeh’s law firm till previous month, claimed he was unaware of any misspending by Jammeh. “I know that numerous persons have benefited from the basis but I can not say exactly where the money arrived from and who experienced obtain to it,” Gomez claimed.
The financial institution statements reviewed by Reuters confirmed that more than $eight million was deposited in eleven installments into the U.S. greenback account in the foundation’s name at Belief Financial institution in 2012 and 2013. All of the money was withdrawn.
There were 15 cash withdrawals in 2012 and 2013, ranging from $seventy five,000 to more than $500,000: $four.3 million in overall. A even further $1.five million was transferred to overseas accounts, the statements exhibit. The remainder was drawn down in letters of credit, miscellaneous withdrawals and interest fees.
Some cash withdrawals give immediate reference to Jammeh, who at the time was the foundation’s chief patron, which means he lent his name in assist of its operate. Manga claimed Jammeh performed only an occasional purpose in the foundation’s routines. These include things like schooling, health and fitness and agricultural jobs, in accordance to its website.
In March 2013, a $seventy five,930 withdrawal was in depth as: “Cash WDL B/O DR YAHYA AJJ JAMMEH”. A Belief Financial institution employee interviewed by Reuters claimed that B/O stood for “by order of” and WDL stood for “withdrawal”.
Reuters was unable to decide the resource of most of the money in the account.
But 5 payments into the account in 2013 totaling $2.fifty five million reference Euro African Team, or its acronym EAGL, in accordance to the transaction information on the statements, which includes 1 $500,000 payment on May well eight, 2013 described as “Resources TRF B/O EURO AFRICAN.”
Euro African held special legal rights to import fuel to Gambia between 2008 and 2013 and a fuel provide deal to the point out-operate utility.
Euro African head Mohamed Bazzi informed Reuters the enterprise created three payments to the basis totaling $1.3 million in 2013. Bazzi did not specify which account the money was paid into. Reuters was unable to account for the difference among this overall and that mirrored on the financial institution statements. Bazzi was unable to describe the difference.
Bazzi, a notable Lebanese businessman who has carried out small business in Gambia for more than a 10 years, informed Reuters the money went toward a mosque, a hospital and bringing in international medical practitioners to Gambia. Bazzi claimed Euro African created the payments on behalf of a telecommunications enterprise that he declined to name. The telecommunications enterprise was a separate entity and the money was not Euro African’s money, he claimed.
The statements also exhibit a $99,982.50 payment was created on April seventeen, 2013 by Selectra AG, a Swiss-dependent engineering agency. Selectra did not respond to requests for remark.
Money FOR SCHOLARSHIPS
The foundation’s previous deputy CEO Manga claimed he initial turned aware of the account and the deposits when Belief Financial institution accidentally sent him statements for the greenback account in 2013. He claimed he believed the money could be utilized to fund scholarships and a hospital.
As opposed to the Belief Financial institution account that the charity utilized for daily bills, this 1 held bucks, not dalasis, the area currency, and experienced significantly additional money.
When Manga approached officers at Belief Financial institution Ltd about the account in 2013, they informed him not to contact the money, he claimed. The account supervisor informed him it was “Yahya’s” (Jammeh’s) account, Manga claimed.
“We were having difficulties to operate communities and we experienced all this money in this account. Why could not we make use of it?” claimed Manga.
A previous member of Jammeh’s personnel, who spoke on affliction of anonymity, claimed he frequently collected money from the basis greenback account at the president’s ask for and returned to Condition Dwelling with baggage stuffed with cash in bundles of $10,000, wrapped in a paper band carrying the Belief Financial institution seal.
“Whenever Jammeh essential money, he would go to that (basis) account and withdraw money. If his wife went touring, they would acquire money out,” he claimed.
Reuters was unable to attain Jammeh’s wife, who till previous month was the foundation’s president and intently associated in the functioning of the charity, in accordance to the website.
Another resource who worked as a own assistant for Jammeh from 2009-2012 and who was fired and jailed for espionage, fees he denies, claimed he withdrew hundreds of countless numbers of bucks in cash in 2011 and 2012 from an additional account called the Nationwide Security Account at Belief Financial institution, on Jammeh’s behalf.
Other occasions, he claimed he wired money from that account to Jammeh’s wife’s own account in the United States.
Belief Financial institution declined to remark on the Nationwide Security Account and who experienced obtain to it.
ROLLS ROYCES, MANSIONS
Jammeh’s paying out hinted at his riches. He experienced a fleet of black Rolls Royce limousines whose headrests carry his name embroidered in dim thread, and a residence in Maryland, in accordance to a Reuters witness and a U.S. formal.
On a journey to New York for a U.N. summit in 2002, Jammeh experienced $1 million in cash in cellophane wrapping brought to his hotel space, his previous lobbyist John Aycoth informed Reuters. He purchased expensive watches and tipped a dental hygienist $twenty,000, claimed Aycoth, who correctly sued the Gambian government in a U.S. courtroom for failure to compensate his agency in 2006.
Reuters could not independently confirm these accounts.
“I know he experienced excellent prosperity. I have no doubt about that,” claimed Jammeh’s previous law firm Gomez.
Gambia’s new leaders claimed Jammeh took a fleet of luxurious cars and trucks with him into exile.
Now, in the aftermath of his rule, numerous Gambians need his prosperity be returned straight away. The country’s financial system is in tatters with only three weeks remaining of import resources.
“The president and his government will acquire all techniques and steps to ensure that all the misplaced, stolen and misappropriated property are returned to the Gambian persons,” Gambian Finance Minister Sanneh informed reporters on Monday.
(Supplemental reporting by Lamin Jahateh in Banjul modifying by Janet McBride)