Zineb Jammeh, a former First Lady of The Gambia, has been sanctioned by United States authorities for her part in helping her husband and former president Yahya Jammeh to illegally funnel money out of the West African nation.
On Wednesday, the United States Department of Treasury announced that it suspects Mrs. Jammeh helped her husband to illegally transfer money out of The Gambia as well as control his assets abroad.
The statement described the former president as a man who “used a number of corrupt schemes to plunder The Gambia’s state coffers or otherwise siphon off state funds for his personal gain”.
On her part, Mrs. Jammeh is thought to have been “in charge of most of Jammeh’s assets around the world, and utilized a charitable foundation as cover to facilitate the illicit transfer of funds to her husband,” the Treasury Department.
Under the sanctions, assets owned by Mrs. Jammeh in the US have now been blocked. Individuals and organizations in the country are also banned from conducting property deals with the Moroccan-Gambian.
A house in Maryland that belongs to Mrs. Jammeh has already been seized by the federal government. The pair are already blocked from entering the United States.
Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year reign in The Gambia was marked by extrajudicial killings, human rights abuses as well as financial corruption. Although he is generally thought to have stolen more, the country’s Ministry of Justice says the ex-president took away $50 million right before he was sent into exile after losing the presidential election of 2016.
At a point, Mr. Jammeh refused to accept the results of the elections because of what he termed “unacceptable abnormalities”. It took the United Nations’ Security Council as well as forces put together by the regional intergovernmental body ECOWAS to usher Mr. Jammeh out of the power.
He currently resides in Equatorial Guinea.