By Omar Bah
Former Interior minister has given the government and National Assembly 2 weeks to recover over D22 million of state funds transferred to APRC’s mobilisation accounts at least 5 years ago.
“If they fail to recover the money, I will initiate a prerogative order of mandamus in court against the government, APRC and the National Assembly to make sure that the money is recovered and returned to the state,” Mai Fatty told The Standard yesterday.
The D22 million was uncovered by an audit report conducted by the directorate of internal audit on the Office of the President for the period 1st January 2014 to 31st December 2016 which Mr Fatty shared with The Standard.
Mai, leader of the Gambia Moral Congress, added: “Over the past two decades of its existence, the APRC may have illegally benefited from public resources to the tune of over a hundred million Dalasi. The APRC owes the Gambian taxpayers millions of dalasis that they should pay back to state coffers.”
The former presidential adviser further stated that the APRC should apologise to Gambians and refund the hundreds of millions of dalasis they illegally benefited from over the years.
“The government owes them nothing in terms of monies, assets or otherwise. We will demand the Gambia Government to require the refund of illegal funds transferred to APRC bank accounts from government funds. If the government fails to do this, GMC will initiate proper steps for the recovery of stolen millions of public funds,” he said.
Mai said he is in possession of an audit report which has affirmed that vehicles and funds were stolen from public funds for use by APRC.
“There is evidence of a letter authorizing the Accountant General to that effect resulting to the illegal transfer of taxpayer funds to APRC Mobilisation Account Number 1564753110 at Guaranty Trust Bank with BBAN number 005101154675311055,” he said.
Fatty said the APRC vehicles also benefited from free fuel for political purposes at the expense of taxpayers.
“Yahya Jammeh’s State House misused D291,297,405.03 on the purchase and distribution of fuel from 2014 to 2016 and from these, the APRC fuelled its campaign vehicles at taxpayers’ expense. I am talking about only two years out of twenty-two years. For the same period, Yahya Jammeh misused the sum of D268,401,876.65 on the purchase of vehicles. From these, there is evidence of vehicles illegally given to APRC as a party, and some party operatives across the country.
“Tractors were also illegally acquired and distributed for political purposes across the country. Again, I am talking about just two years out of 20 years. For the same period, Jammeh misused the sum of D206,195,342.87 on celebration of events which included APRC rallies at different times. Evidence shows APRC was sustained through the abuse and misuse of public funds. These are matters of public record of official audited accounts that cannot be disputed by anyone,” Fatty argued.
The APRC has for the past three years persistently demanded the restoration of their bank accounts, monies, vehicles and assets from the government.
But Fatty said: “In reality, the APRC own nothing in this country and are not entitled to a dime. It is the only political party in the history of this country that was maintained at the total expense of taxpayers. Everything they got belongs to the taxpayers, from vehicles to campaign funds to rental properties all at our expense.”
“Just before the 2011 election, the APRC bought many brand new four-wheel pickup trucks and distributed them across the country for party use, that they cannot still show a receipt for. This is because it was paid out of state coffers. In 2016, likewise. There is evidence galore to substantiate this,” he added.
He continued: “Let me state that I have great respect for the APRC interim leader Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta. I do not hold him or his Executive personally liable for stealing public funds. I make a distinction between Hon. Jatta or his team with APRC as an institution. I know Hon. Jatta as a patriot and an honest politician together with others such as Hon. Amul Nyassi. However, the party that they belong to is guilty of managing over some of the worst crimes against humanity, including stealing millions of dalasis of public funds that must be paid back.”
Fatty said based on the criminal record of the APRC government and its massive looting of state coffers, the government should consider the need to suspend the party from the political process in the national interest until it remedies the monumental defects hovering over its head.
The Standard tried APRC officials without success but will make a follow-up today.