The commission of inquiry into the affairs of Yahya Jammeh began public hearings on Thursday (August 10th) in The Gambia. Created by the new government, she moved to a hotel near Banjul for at least the next three months. Before exiling in Equatorial Guinea, the former president diverted nearly 50 million euros. The commission has two purposes: to establish whether public funds have been misappropriated during his term of office and to analyze how the President’s and his family’s many assets have been acquired. And she can summon any witness who appears to have information.
The immense hall has the air of a tribunal with the legal advisers installed in a semicircle and the three members of the committee who sit at the central table. But not “your honor” to address them because its members are not judges and this is not a court of law.
Four witnesses were interviewed in a day: three bank managers and the director of the Gambian tax authority. This is to clarify two cases: on the one hand, the mining activities carried out by one of the companies of Yahya Jammeh, and on the other hand the disappearance of a part of the taxes collected in the country.
At each hearing, witnesses were required to provide the documents and names attached to the bank accounts of Jammeh, his family or associates.
And pending the end of the investigation, the former president’s assets will remain frozen by the courts to prevent them from disappearing.
This commission should make it possible to precisely document the financial system of Yahya Jammeh. But it is also symbolic and demonstrates that in “New Gambia”, no one can consider themselves above the law.
The committee will resume its hearings on Monday, August 14 and should then take up new cases.