The Minister of Finance Amadou Sanneh has told The Standard that government has set up a task force to recover state assets worth of D500, 000 000 (million) that was reportedly stolen by country’s former president Yahya Jammeh.
In an exclusive interview at his office on Monday, Sanneh said the task force will be working with the World Bank Stolen Assets Recovery Unit.
“It remains an open question how much we can recover but we have budgeted about D500,000 000 ($10,901,826). We are following many leads within and outside the country,” Minister Sanneh said.
He further disclosed that government will claim assets of Jammeh for the loss he has cost the state. “We will follow it up and make sure we recover all stolen state assets,” he said.
Sanneh said they are also selling four planes which reportedly belong to Jammeh in order to raise money for government.
Jammeh is accused of stealing millions of dollars of public money and the government recently secured a court order freezing his assets after an inquiry was launched into his activities.
The Gambia government is struggling with higher debt about 120% of its GDP and about 34% of revenue generated from its domestic resource mobilization is used for debt servicing, the minister said.
Sanneh has revised the country’s 2016 budget and introduced a 6% cut to curtail extravagant public spending issues though he admitted that further cuts might be necessary in the bloated fuel and vehicle maintenance and operation cost of the government which is about D300 million.
Sanneh said they have established a committee that is looking into the finances of the government and recommend possible areas of cuts including spending on foreign missions.
The government’s budget is expected to be debated by lawmakers today before its approval.