Wed, Jan 08, 2014 - Page 8 News List

Jammeh threatens to expose graft

By Sidi Sanneh

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has threatened to expose high-level corruption within the Taiwanese government should accusations and criticism against his person and government persist.

Revelations that Jammeh demanded a cash sum in excess of US$10 million from Taiwan — and was refused — came from senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to the Gambian dictator, he is in possession of what he characterized as “shocking” information and warned his former friends by saying: “I will say what I have to say.”

The dictator is, of course, hoping that Taiwanese authorities’ criticism of him will cease with his threats to expose corruption in President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government.

Jammeh made this threat against the present and previous governments of Taiwan in his end-of-year national television interview.

The interview was conducted by the Gambia Radio and Television Service (GRTS) and aired throughout the New Year holiday. GRTS is government-owned and controlled.

Jammeh’s threat to expose the high-level corruption of his former friends came after authorities at the ministry attributed the abrupt break in diplomatic relations between the Gambia and Taiwan to Jammeh’s incessant demands for money — in cash and unreceipted — that could no longer be sustained nor maintained by the Ma administration.

This report irked the dictator who, until this revelation, managed to keep 1.8 million Gambians, the poorest humans on Earth, in the dark about the foreign aid he was receiving in their name.

The announcement to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan came in a short release from the Gambian President’s Office on Nov. 15 last year, almost a month after a similar surprise move by the idiosyncratic and emotionally unstable Gambian leader, in which he withdrew his country from the Commonwealth.

In both instances, neither the Gambian population through the National Assembly nor his Cabinet were consulted.

His foreign minister read it, like the rest of the world, in the news.

The Gambian leader painstakingly tried to separate the people of Taiwan from their government by reminding listeners that his problem is with the government and not with Taiwanese, who “will remain friends” with the Gambian people.

Sidi Sanneh is a former foreign minister of the Gambia.

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