Justice Minister confirms absence of records on sale of ex-president Jammeh’s livestock

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice Dawda Jallow

Dawda Jallow, the Minister of Justice, has told lawmakers on Wednesday that he was unable to access information on the sale of the livestocks of former president Yahya Jammeh other than the D8.3m deposited in an account at the Trust Bank.

The livestock of the former president were sold by the Sheriff of the High Court in January 2018 after a court presided over by the late Justice Buba Jawo approved their sale.

An investigation by The Republic published on Tuesday has revealed that the Sheriff sold 725 heads of cattle below valuation by at least D2.4m. A 3-page report on the sale by the Sheriff failed to name the buyers.

The records reviewed by The Republic also contain at least 4 different official figures regarding the number of Jammeh’s cattle. There was no trace of his wild animals or other livestock such as sheep, goats, ducks.

The minister was cautious not to mention any figure. “I cannot inform this Assembly, with my best effort, how many cattle were there and who bought how much and in what quantity and at what price,” said Jallow, though the Sheriff’s report through which he knew the account details claimed to have sold 725.

“All that we can find out was when the cattle sale was completed, they realized D8m and that money was put into an account. That account was surrendered to us and we moved the money to the National Treasury. Beyond that, other details, I don’t know. And I did everything possible to get the information for you but I am not able to get it.”

The assets of the former president were frozen by a high court in May 2017 about a month before the State commenced an inquiry into his financial transactions, his family and close associates. The sale of some of the assets including livestock, vehicles and tractors began while the Commission was sitting.

“The transaction that took place when the Commission was sitting, if this August Assembly is interested in that, maybe you can do a parliamentary inquiry. But I did my best effort to recover that data (quantity, buyers of livestock, valuation report), in the format that it has been asked in the question but all the while we are not able to get it,” said Jallow, responding to a question asked by Almameh Gibba, the lawmaker representing Foni Kansala.