US seizes ex-Gambian president Yahya Jammeh’s mansion

A court in the United States has ruled that the $3m mansion in the state of Maryland, near Washington DC, said to belong to former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, should be seized from a trust set up by him, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on Friday.

Funds raised by the sale of the house should benefit those who were harmed by the former president’s “acts of corruption and abuse of office”, the US authorities say.

An investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) found that the money used to buy the six-bedroom house was raised through corruption.

“Maryland real estate is not a shelter for funds for corrupt rulers who have stolen from their countrymen,” said Selwyn Smith, one of the agents overseeing the case.

Jammeh’s 22-year presidency, which ended in 2017, was notorious for corruption and he also faced allegations of extensive human rights abuses including killing and jailing his critics.

More details have since emerged at Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, which this week recommended that he be prosecuted for “myriad crimes”. He has previously denied allegations of wrongdoing.

During his presidency, Gambian activists outside the country felt they had a responsibility to be the voice of the voiceless.

Sohna Sallah was one of them.

In 2010, a US-based Gambian newspaper reported that Mr Jammeh’s wife, Zineb, had bought a house in the upmarket Potomac neighbourhood, Ms Sallah told the BBC.

But its exact location was unknown.


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