The Chronicle Gambia

APRC Engaging the Government for Jammeh’s Return, Says Tombong Jatta

The interim head of former ruling APRC party, Fabakary Tombong Jatta said the party has started engaging various institutions including the government for the return of exiled former president Yahya Jammeh to The Gambia.

“Negotiations are on and let people have no doubt that Yahya Jammeh will return to this country,” Jatta told journalists at a press conference Friday.

Jammeh went to exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 following a decision by sub-regional bloc Ecowas to send troops to The Gambia to remove him from power after his December 2016 election loss. There were occasional speculations and unconfirmed reports that his party was in touch with the government to discuss his return from exile. Jatta’s statement Friday was the first time the party publicly confirmed its discussion with the government over the issues.

APRC supporters

“Nobody has a right to deny a citizen of The Gambia his citizenship right even if he kills the entire Gambian population. He (Jammeh) is a Gambian and nobody can deny him the right to come back. He will come back to The Gambia,” Jatta said. “The negotiations are on to make sure Jammeh returns to The Gambia.”

Jatta also accused the authorities of selling the ex-leaders assets illegally, saying the party is preparing a list of his total assets.

“His herds of cattle were sold here in a flimsy excuse that the government couldn’t maintain them. If one man, President Jammeh could maintain his herds of cattle, how can a whole government with a whole agriculture department cannot manage them?”

He queried that the authorities did not give the details of the sale of the cattle to the citizens. He alleged that 317 vehicles belonging to Jammeh were sold for D19 million, adding that some vehicles were sold as low as D5000.

Fabakary Tombong Jatta met President Barrow earlier this year

Jammeh’s fleet of vehicles includes armour-plated Hummers, Rolls-Royces, Bentley, BMWs, pickup trucks, Mercedes and Mini Cooper.

“We want to believe that people enriched themselves from selling Jammeh’s properties. All these happened in this country, and we’re talking about accountability, transparency and probity.”

The government has forfeited Jammeh’s assets worth billions of dalasis to the state. The Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou last month said the Janneh Commission which submitted its report to President Adama Barrow, found among other things that the former president either directly or through third parties embezzled over D1 billion.

“While the Ministry of Justice is into the review of the report submitted by the commission in order to advice the president on the necessary actions to be taken as well as to implement the recommendation of the commission, the president Adama Barrow has approved and government has taken interim measures to apply the recommendations of the commission,” Tambadou told journalists.

Fabakary Tombong Jatta and ex-president Jammeh during the APRC regime

According to him, the measures include the immediate forfeiture to the state of all companies and their respective assets belonging to Jammeh upon the expiration of the freezing order of the high court, and the immediate forfeiture to the state of all movable and immovable assets including all developed and undeveloped landed properties owned by the former president upon the expiration of the 17th June 2019 of the freezing order of the high court.

The government spokesperson was not available for comments.

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