Former president Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia and international businessman Dan Gertler, implicated in corrupt mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are among 13 individuals added to a United States Department of Treasury list of those subject to imposed economic sanctions under the government’s Magnitsky Act.
“Treasury is freezing their assets and publicly denouncing the egregious acts they’ve committed, sending a message that there is a steep price to pay for their misdeeds,” said Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “At the direction of President Trump, Treasury and our interagency partners will continue to take decisive and impactful actions to hold accountable those who abuse human rights, perpetrate corruption, and undermine American ideals.”
Jammeh, now in Equatorial Guinea, was forced out of office earlier this year after losing the 2016 Gambian presidential election and defiantly refusing to leave for months. Sanctions determined by the U.S. Treasury are based on more than two decades of human rights violations that included extrajudicial killings of political opponents and widespread repression targeting journalists and rights advocates. The Gambia’s former intelligence director, Yankuba Badjie, also is named to the new list of sanctions.
Jammeh also is under sanctions for corruption, including the withdrawal of at least USD$50 million of state funds, the Treasury department said in its release Thursday. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also listed 12 business entities including Kanilai Group International, a Jammeh-registered business investigated in The Gambia for ties to some $35 million missing from state social security pension funds.
Gertler has a close relationship with President Joseph Kabila in the DR Congo, and availed himself of the opportunity to amass a fortune on minerals and mining rights. “As a result, between 2010 and 2012 alone, the DRC reportedly lost over $1.36 billion in revenues from the underpricing of mining assets that were sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler,” the U.S. Treasury said.
Also subject to new sanctions is Benjamin Bol Mel, a financial advisor to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. For a complete list of the additions and the rationale for their inclusion, see this link.
Image: U.S. Department of Treasury