Gambia’s government has halted the sale of assets belonging to former leader, Yahya Jammeh and his associates.
The government of President Adama Barrow sanctioned the sale of Jammeh’s assets and that of his many associates last year.
The decision was based on a recommendation by a commission set up to review Jammeh’s assets after his exit from power and advise what to do with them.
A report from the commission was submitted to President Barrow whose government then decided to seize Jammeh’s assets, both developed and non-developed assets.
But the sale of the assets has now been halted after a Gambian Court ruled against the government’s move.
The court said the Commission that recommended the seizure and sale of Jammeh’s assets wasn’t an adjudicatory body.
That means the government will have to seek a court ruling on seizure and sale of the assets of Jammeh and his associates if it is bent on doing so.
The justice ministry said in a statement after the court ruling that “the Government notes that different interpretations of the ruling are being offered by many including sections of the media.
The Government wishes to clarify to the general public that The Gambia Court of Appeal did not in any way state that the Janneh Commission recommendations cannot be enforced.”
The statement further said that “rather, in a departure from long established practice in this jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal held that an additional legal step needs to be taken by the Executive in order to execute some, and not all, of the recommendations of a commission of inquiry such as the Janneh Commission.
Indeed, the Gambia Court of Appeal has accepted, in the said ruling, that the position arrived at by the Court in this matter is a novel one.”
The government in the statement said it intends litigating the ruling of the court.
It however said in the statement that “Meanwhile, consistent with the Government’s strong commitment to respect for the rule of law, all sales of properties flowing from the Janneh Commission recommendations have now been suspended in deference to the ruling of the court of appeal until a final pronouncement is made on the matter.”
According to the government Jammeh’s properties both home and abroad are worth over $20 million (a billion of Gambian dalasi.)
Jammeh reportedly left behind five planes and 30 luxury cars including Rolls-Royces and Bentleys.
He is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea. The country’s President Teodoro Obiang has vowed to ensure that Jammeh isn’t extradited to Gambia.
Jammeh ruled the West African country for 22 years. He was forced out of office in 2017 after he lost the 2016 presidential elections to current leader, Adama Barrow.
Gambia’s President, Adama Barrow is currently struggling to rebuild the broken economy of the country. This is due to its debt stock with many of the borrowing sanctioned by Jammeh during his tenure.