U.S. seizes ex-Gambian leader Jammeh’s $3.5 million mansion

Former Gambia President Yahya Jammeh-Photo by AFP
Former Gambia President Yahya Jammeh-Photo by AFP

The U.S. Justice Department said it has secured the forfeiture of a mansion bought by former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh for 3.5 million U.S. dollars with alleged corruption proceeds.

“The United States intends to sell the property, and recommend to the Attorney General that the net proceeds from the sale of the forfeited property be used to benefit the people of The Gambia harmed by former President Jammeh’s acts of corruption and abuse of office,” the department said in a statement.

According to reports, the property in Potomac, Maryland, is said to have been acquired through a trust set up by his wife, Zineb Jammeh.

The Department of Justice is committed to using the rule of law to forfeit assets traceable to alleged foreign corruption,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

“This case demonstrates our ability to work with foreign partners to secure the forfeiture of assets allegedly derived from illicit bribes and stolen funds despite complex attempts to disguise the proceeds and their intended recipients.”

The property has now been forfeited to the US along with all rental income generated by the property since a complaint was filed in 2020, a statement by the department said.

“Corrupt foreign officials will not be allowed to hide illegal proceeds in Maryland or anywhere else in the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron for the District of Maryland. “We will use all the tools at our disposal to track down and seek to repatriate those funds.”

Jammeh seized power of the tiny West African nation in a 1994 coup. He was forced out after losing a 2016 election to the current president, Adama Barrow, and fled to Equatorial Guinea.

Rights groups have long called for Jammeh to be prosecuted for alleged abuses, including murder, torture, and rape, during his 22 years in power in the West African nation. He has denied allegations of wrongdoing.