Gambia is selling off several planes and a fleet of luxury cars bought by former president, Yahya Jammeh as it seeks to reduce a mountain of crippling debt incurred during the authoritarian leader’s decades-long rule.
Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup, fled Gambia early last year as West African neighbours were poised for military intervention to topple him after he refused to step down after losing to current President, Adama Barrow.
Jammeh acquired vast wealth, much of which he packed into planes and carried with him into exile in Equatorial Guinea.
However, a fleet of vehicles, including several Rolls-Royces with Jammeh’s name embroidered in their red leather headrests, were left behind on the tarmac.
“The fleet of expensive vehicles at the State House and the three planes bought by former president Yahya Jammeh have been put on sale,” Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh told Reuters.
“My ministry will soon start publicising the sales.”
Sanneh said last year that around 100 million dollars, more than a third of the government’s annual budget, had been siphoned from the state firms.
Barrow set up a commission that visited Jammeh’s many properties – one estate boasts a mosque, jungle warfare training camp and a vast private safari park – to establish an inventory of his possessions with the aim of recovering looted assets.
Investigators have also sought to establish what wealth Jammeh may have stashed abroad.