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September 24, 2021
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Gambia’s former first lady sanctioned for supporting husband’s corruption

PRESS CONFERENCE

The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Zineb Souma Yahya Jammeh, the former first lady of The Gambia. 

She is said to control many of the overseas assets of her husband, former president Yahya Jammeh, described by the U.S. State Department as the “notoriously corrupt former leader of The Gambia”.

 Jammeh was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2017. Zineb Jammeh was appointed in December 2018 and their children have also been proclaimed ineligible to enter the U.S. as a result.

In a press statement released by the OFAC, it read ” OFAC designated these persons pursuant to Executive order 13818, which builds on and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption”.

According to the Deputy Secretary Justin G Muzinich “Bad actors rely on their networks and front companies to evade sanctions and conceal their illicit acts”

He further stated that they will continue to use their authorities to prevent such illicit funds from moving freely through international financial system.

ZINEB SOUMA YAHYA JAMMEH 

 She is the former First Lady of The Gambia and the current wife of Yahya Jammeh (Jammeh), who is a former President of The Gambia who came to power in 1994 and stepped down in 2017.

She was reportedly  instrumental in aiding and abetting Jammeh’s economic crimes against the country.

Despite numerous calls for Zineb to intervene, She turned a blind eye to Jammeh’s human rights abuses.

 Zineb is also believed to be in charge of most of Jammeh’s assets around the world, and using a charitable foundation as cover to facilitate the illicit transfer of funds to her husband.

 Jammeh was previously included on the Annex to E.O. 13818 on December 21, 2017, for his long history of engaging in serious human rights abuse and corruption.

 During his tenure, Jammeh used a number of corrupt schemes to plunder The Gambia’s state coffers and  siphon off state funds for his personal gain.

 At the time of his designation, ongoing investigations revealed Jammeh’s large-scale theft from state coffers prior to his departure. 

According to The Gambia’s Justice Ministry, Jammeh personally, or through others acting under his instructions, directed the unlawful withdrawal of at least $50 million of state funds. 

The Gambian Government has since taken action to freeze Jammeh’s assets within The Gambia.

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