Cape Town — Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh whose rule was characterised by allegations of widespread abuses is faced with a forfeiture process in U.S. courts.
Jammeh who lost to President Adama Barrow in 2016, refused to concede defeat and ECOWAS leaders had to step in to mediate the impasse, resulting in he and his family leaving for Equatorial Guinea.
After his departure, the government established a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission where hundreds of witnesses testified of alleged atrocities such as torture, rape and dissapearances under the Jammeh government.
In 2020, the U.S. government said it would move to seize property owned by Jammeh and his family in the U.S, as well as imposing sanctions on Jammeh’s wife Zineb Jammeh.
Now official court documents issued by the U.S. District Court of Maryland have been served to Yahya Jammeh and his family in Equatorial Guinea. The documents require their response to suits of forfeiture against properties in the U.S.
The said court motion had been a joint collaboration between the United States Department of Justice, the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and the Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice, along with other Gambian civil society and partner U.S.-based and international bodies, campaigning for accountability and justice for The Gambia under the 22-year dictatorship of the Jammeh government.
Reports have said that President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo confirmed to the U.S. Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, that documents were sent to the Jammeh residence. This has also been confirmed by Justice Minister Mauricio Asumu.
Recently President Adama Barrow’s party announced it would be working with Jammeh’s party to secure a second term for the incumbent. The agreement is to ensure that Yahya Jammeh, who is currently in exile, returns to the country peacefully. The announcement was greeted with shock and anger by Gambians who say they suffered for 22 years under Jammeh’s rule.