Gambia police say country's former spy chief arrested

AP News
Posted: Feb 22, 2017 11:08 AM

BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Gambia's former director general of the National Intelligence Agency has been arrested, police said Wednesday, as the tiny West African country works to address more than two decades of alleged abuses under its former ruler.

Yankuba Badjie was arrested Monday, police spokesman Foday Conta said. He said an investigation was ongoing but wouldn't give further details.

Former President Yahya Jammeh formed the intelligence agency after he took power in a bloodless coup in 1994. It became feared for the alleged intimidation, torture and killings of opponents.

New leader Adama Barrow has promised a truth commission and investigations into alleged human rights violations carried out under Jammeh, as well as the release of political prisoners. He stripped the intelligence agency of its powers and renamed it the State Intelligence Services after taking office.

Jammeh flew into exile last month after international pressure, including the threat of a regional military intervention, persuaded him to accept his December election loss to Barrow.

Since then, the new government has continued to discover more details on what Jammeh left behind.

A new government report this week said the country's economy was "completely destroyed" by the ex-president and his allies.

"Some alarming and gross mismanagement of public funds were discovered," said a dispatch issued by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and seen by The Associated Press.

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Revenues collected from the country's telecommunications company Gamtel were siphoned by Jammeh and diverted to an account at the Central Bank starting in 2014, the report said. The account accumulated more than $5.4 million which was withdrawn at some point before Jammeh left, it said.

Jammeh was accused of stealing millions of dollars in his final weeks in power, and Barrow's incoming government has said the state coffers were virtually empty.