Some of the detained former civil servants
Some of the detained former civil servants

(JollofNews) – President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia has threatened to unleash severe punishment on nine former senior government officials and a local businessman who are currently detained at Mile Two Prisons for corruption.

Mr Jammeh said the detained officials were involved in serious corruption malpractices at the state-owned Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC) resulting in the state losing US$12 million.

The detained former officials include Sira Wally Ndow Njie, who was the first minister of Petroleum and later appointed deputy minister of Tourism, Nuha Touray, secretary to the Cabinet, Momodou Badjie, managing director of Gambia National Petroleum Company, Fafa Sanyang, permanent secretary ministry of Petroleum, Seedy Kanyi, general, manager Gambia Transport Service Corporation, Muntaga Sallah, former permanent secretary ministry of Petroleum, Cherno Marenah, former Solicitor General, Momodou Taal, civil servant, Louis Moses Mendy, civil servant, and Businessman Idrissa Jobe.

They were arrested in mid-June by officials of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) as part of ongoing investigations into alleged corruption at GNPC.

Some days after their arrest and detention incommunicado, the officials were  charged with one count of economic crime and remanded at the Mile Two Prisons.

President Yahya Jammeh
President Yahya Jammeh

Although they have rejected the allegations against them, Mr Jammeh on Wednesday while addressing religious leaders at State House Banjul, accused them of committing serious crime against the Gambia.

He said Mrs Ndow, the former Petroleum minister had signed an agreement with a ghost oil company in Dubai for the supply of petroleum to the GNPC.

“I drew the attention of the former Minister of Petroleum of the bogus oil company’s name, that such a name did not appear in the internet or anywhere and I questioned her why GNPC should do business with that company, but some members of the board were trying to convince me for the company to supply oil to GNPC,” Mr Jammeh said.

“The agreement with this bogus company resulted in the loss of US$12 million.They have offended Gambians and a crime of this magnitude would not go unpunished.”

Mr Jammeh said he is ready to root out corruption in the country’s civil service and corrupt officials will be mercilessly dealt with.

“I will never compromise in the execution of my mandate as president of the Gambia,” he said.