Anti-corruption reforms in The Gambia must move forward

New reports detail extent of grand corruption under former president Jammeh

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



New revelations of comprehensive state capture and grand corruption under former president Yahya Jammeh should spur anti-corruption efforts to benefit the people of The Gambia, Transparency International said today.

Banking data leaks cited in reports published today by the Organized Crime and Corruption Project (OCCRP), appear to show that the value of state assets stolen by Jammeh and his cronies was far higher than previously estimated – at almost US$1billion, equivalent to one year of GDP and twice The Gambia’s external debt. During his 22-year rule, Jammeh allegedly looted the state pension fund for his own benefit, used the central bank as his private checking account, collaborated with terrorist financiers to launder millions and undervalue state assets, and stole millions in foreign aid.

Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International, said: “Jammeh’s reign appears to be a textbook case study of grand corruption at its most extreme. The now sadly familiar pattern included the predictable involvement of Western enablers who facilitated Jammeh’s theft of public monies in and out of The Gambia, while he violently oppressed his people and destroyed the country’s economy.”

The OCCRP reports raise concerns that – at the time of the massive money laundering out of The Gambia – UK and US banks may have failed to conduct sufficient due diligence in their business dealings with The Gambia.

“The fact that the French oil giant Total sold oil to Gambia’s state oil company through an intermediary company, which was later sanctioned by US authorities, demands explanation,” continued Moreira.  

Since Jammeh was forced to leave office in 2017, Transparency International’s analysis shows that The Gambia has made significant anti-corruption progress. Notable achievements include the establishment of a Truth, Reconciliation and Repatriations Commission, which became active in January 2019. The process of recovering the overseas assets of Jammeh and his circle and returning them to benefit the people of The Gambia should continue as quickly as possible.

“It is vital that nothing close to this scale of grand corruption can ever happen again in The Gambia,” said Samuel Kaninda, Regional Advisor for West Africa at Transparency International. “The planned anti-corruption reform package pending before the government has to move forward, particularly with the finalisation of the anti-corruption law and the operationalisation of the anti-corruption commission. The Barrow administration must take steps to protect the space for both civil society and the media to operate freely.’’

Yayha Jammeh is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea, the country with the eighth highest level of public sector corruption in the world according to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index.

Note to Editors

Since 2016, OCCRP and Transparency International have been working together as part of the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium to ensure that the corruption uncovered in investigations are followed up on, the corrupt are held to account and loopholes in regulations that enable corruption are closed. 

 


For any press enquiries please contact

Michael Hornsby
T: +49 30 34 38 20 696
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Latest

Support Transparency International

The terrible consequences of police corruption in South Africa

What do we do when those mandated to protect us are serving other interests than public safety and security? In South Africa, police corruption leaves the public exposed to high rates of crime, and causes distrust of the police service while allowing crime to flourish.

Why do DRC citizens report such high levels of corruption?

People's experiences with corruption in the DRC are far worse than in most other African countries. Why is corruption so prevalent in the DRC, why is bribery so commonplace and why do two thirds of citizens feel powerless?

Is Mauritius at a tipping point in the fight against corruption?

According to the latest GCB for Africa, very few Mauritians who accessed public services, like health care and education, had to pay a bribe for those services. But given recent scandals, citizens still see certain groups and institutions as corrupt.

Protecting Africa’s wildlife from corruption

When they deliberate over amendments to the global wildlife trade regime, CoP18 must address impunity for illegal timber trafficking in Africa as a matter of high priority.

How the US can help Mongolia get to grips with corruption

A series of bi-lateral meetings and a proposed trade agreement present an opportunity for the US to promote rule of law and an independent judiciary in Mongolia.

Blood diamonds and land corruption in Sierra Leone

A community in Sierra Leone has created powerful short videos documenting their experiences of corruption, forced evictions and a botched resettlement programme at the hands of a multinational diamond mining company.

Countries must be more transparent when investigating transnational corruption

Supervisory and justice systems should be transparent and accountable so that the public can assess their performance.

Resilient institutions

Reducing corruption is an important component of the sustainable development agenda, and one that all state parties have an obligation to address. Although corruption is often thought of as a ‘third-world problem’, institutions in the Global North play an important role in the corruption cycle, and are therefore an essential part of the solutions.

In whose interest? Political integrity and corruption in Africa

What accounts for the wide disparity in peoples’ perceptions of the integrity of elected representatives in different countries? In this piece, we will to look at various forms of political corruption, how they manifest in African countries and what can be done to promote political integrity.

Cidadãos opinam sobre a corrupção em África

A décima edição do Barómetro Global de Corrupção (GCB) – África revela que embora a maioria das pessoas na África acreditem que os níveis de corrupção aumentaram no seu país, elas também se sentem otimistas, pois acreditam que os cidadãos podem fazer a diferença no combate à corrupção.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media