The Government of the Gambia has announced a decision to take over all assets and companies belonging to former President Yahya Jammeh and his associate Muhammed Bazzi.
The assets belonging to the former ruler have already been frozen by the High Court of the Gambia until June 17 this year.
Jammeh, who ruled Gambia for 22 years, has been found to have embezzled over GMD1 billion from the state by an inquiry established by the state that looked into his financial dealings and that of his associates.
The report of the inquiry has been ready and sent to President Adama Barrow but the Minister said it is currently being reviewed. However, the actions against Bazzi and Jammeh, Tambadou said, are interim measures.
The Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou told journalists on Wednesday the state has taken decision to take over “all companies and their respective assets belonging to former president Yahya Jammeh upon the expiration on 17 June 2019 of the freezing order of the High Court”.
Minister Tambadou added that the state has also made the decision to take over “all movable and immovable assets including, developed and undeveloped landed properties,… shares and other acquisitions by former president Jammeh upon the expiration on 17 June 2019 of the freezing order of the High Court”.
Also on the list of business to be taken over by the state are “all movable and immovable assets, including developed and undeveloped assets… shares and other acquisitions by Muhammed Bazzi, a close associate of former president Jammeh”.
The minister also said there will be “Immediate forfeiture to the state of all monies, all frozen commercial bank accounts in the Gambia upon the expiration of on 17 June 2019 of the freezing order of the High Court”.
“All financial institutions in the country, especially the commercial banks, are hereby advised to take note of this action and announcement which will soon be followed by correspondence specifically addressed to each of them,” said Tambadou.
Tambadou said President Barrow has approved the setting up of an inter-ministerial taskforce comprising the Ministries of Justice, Finance, Local Government and Land, Tourism and Agriculture to handle matters relating to the interim measures.
The Gambian leader owns several assets and businesses in the country including a compound in United States.
Tambadou said they are working with other countries to recover assets belonging to Jammeh that are within their jurisdictions.
He said they are in talks with U.S. authorities regarding Jammeh’s compound in that country. He also seek support from U.S, EU, and other countries in Gambia’s hunt to recover countries resources reportedly stolen by former President.
Bazzi is a Lebanese business tycoon with lot of business interest in Gambia. One of his key partners in the country is the National Water and Electricity Company that goes into a purchase agreement with him. He has been found by the Janneh Commission as a close associate of the former President Jammeh.