Halifa Sallah, the spokesperson of Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow ‘faulted’ allegations by President Barrow’s so-called adviser Mai Ahmed Fatty who alleged that former President Yahya Jammeh who went into exile in Equatorial Guinea, within the period of two weeks alone, nearly withdrew nearly 500M dalasis approximately (11M or £8.8M).
At a press conference in the Senegalese capital, Dakar on Sunday, Fatty who is said to be President Barrow’s special adviser alledged that exiled former President Jammeh made off with more than D500M during a two-week period alone plundering the state coffers. This he said is a lot of money considering that we spent about 200M dalasis on recurrent expenditure relating to payment of civil service and so forth.
“The Gambia is in financial distress. The coffers are virtually empty. That is a state of fact. It has been confirmed by technicians in the ministry of finance and the Central Bank of the Gambia” Fatty Said.
Fatty also confirmed that a Chadian cargo plane had transported luxury goods out of the country on Jammeh’s behalf in his final hours in power, including an unknown number of vehicles. He said officials at the Gambia airport have been ordered not to allow any of Jammeh’s belongings to leave. He said officials “regret the situation,” but it appeared that the major damage had been done, leaving the new government with little recourse to recoup the funds.
He said this is only what they have discovered so far since Jammeh and his family took an offer of exile after more than 22 years in power and departed late Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the same night, Halifa Sallah, the spokesperson of President Barrow who is in Banjul, faulted Presidential Adviser Fatty’s allegations on the BBC Newsday late night programme.
Halifa said no institution has been audited so far to know something has been lost in an institution. “President Barrow has aides but also has his spokesperson in my very person. If you want authentic and reliable information, please rely on what he says and what I say” Sallah said.
Below is the full interview!
BBC: Can you verify the claims by one aides and adviser to President Barrow that this huge amount and materials where taken away by Mr Jammeh?
Halifa Sallah: President Barrow as you said has aides but also has his spokesperson in my very person. If you want authentic and reliable information, please rely on what he says and what I say.
BBC: Ok the person who this statement is attributed to is Mai Ahmad Fatty, just to be clear because its obviously a very big allegation that is been made. Is it true that Yahya Jammeh emptied the coffers, took luxury goods including cars and loaded them onboard a plane and took it out of the country?
Halifa Sallah: The mediation team comprised of the President of Mauritania and the President of Guinea who did broker an agreement for Ex-President Jammeh to leave and that has actually happened. What is on the ground now is the attempt by the government to protect all the properties of the government…(BBC interrupted)
BBC: OK let me play you this clip so that you listen to it and hear yourself what Fatty said!!
Halifa Sallah: Well, what is important is to bear in mind that we are not arguing what SOMEBODY says. We are saying processes…………..(BBC interrupted)
BBC: But as spokesman of Mr Adama Barrow, I hope you will accept that there is need to clarify this. Did Mr Jammeh took away all these.
Halifa Sallah: I don’t need to clarify anything. We have an institution and institutional processes……(BBC interrupted)
BBC: And that’s not my question Sir. I appreciate that you have institutions but………..(Halifa interrupted)
Halifa Sallah: No institution has been audited to know something has been lost in an institution.
BBC: That is a fair point. I will accept that. But…….(Halifa interrupted)
Halifa Sallah: Government is about institutions and institutional processes. No institution has been audited at the moment to know anything is lost in an institution. I am telling you as a person who knows how a government works and am telling you how the government is going to work. Ministers are going to be appointed, they will go into those institutions and find out what has happened in those institutions, report about that because its a government that is ready for accountability. But you cannot make allegations without any auditing of accounts; you don’t know what has happen there. These are things you as a journalist and we as people to run a government base on processes should not be led to believe.
BBC: Halifa Sallah, Spokesman for President Adama Barrow thank you!