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Commission ex-secretary says sale of Jammeh’s assets ‘scandalous’

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By Lamin Cham

The first secretary of the Janneh Commission which investigated and sold assets of former president Yahya Jammeh, has described the handling and sale of the properties as “scandalous” and lacking transparency. Alagy Mamadi Kurang said it will take a new government to unearth “the whole truth” surrounding the sales.

For years now, anti-corruption activists have been demanding a full disclosure of the sales from government about the prices, buyers and other details of the wealthy former president’s assets without much success.

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Speaking on 60 Minutes, a newly launched highly rated interview programme on Fatu Network, Kurang who was sacked by then Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou after he clashed with lead counsel Amie Bensouda about the operations of the commission, revealed specifically that the entire fleet of vehicles of the former president including high valued cars like Rolls Royces and hundreds of tractors were “scandalously sold” for a “chicken change” of D67 million.

“The Rolls Royces are very valuable cars with one car capable of fetching a million dollars. I know of a buyer who offered a million dollars for one car. 

The hundreds of tractors alone could fetch over D200 million. So, the tractors and the cars combined could fetch nearly half-a-billion dalasis but they sold them all for a mere D67 million,” Dr Kurang lamented.

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But according to Kurang, “the worst scandal” involves the sale of the about 266 of Jammeh’s landed properties identified and documented by the commission while he was serving as secretary.

“These are highly valuable properties. In fact Jammeh, typically, had no cheap properties. And some are saying that even now more are being discovered. Unfortunately, I saw a report in which they claimed they sold only 44 properties for a mere one billion dalasis. What happened to the rest is not made clear yet. Forget about the cars and the cattle, those are chicken changes.   What could be realised from these landed properties is far bigger and even more scandalous,” Dr Kurang claimed.

He said “so many people benefited from these cars and properties at such incredibly cheap and giveaway prices” hence the widespread opposition to anyone trying to talk about them. He said in the circumstances, the full details would only be known when there is a new government at No 1 Marina Parade.

On claims by Justice Minister Dawda Jallow recently to the National Assembly that no gold was found among Jammeh’s properties, Kurang said two golden guns, coins, bracelets and ivory were found and documented by the commission at Jammeh’s residences in Banjul and Kanilai.

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