Banjul (Gambia) (AFP) - The Gambian government on Friday said it intended to prosecute former president Yahya Jammeh on allegations of theft and corruption.
Jammeh, who ruled the tiny West African state for 22 years, fled the country in January 2017 after losing presidential elections and initially refusing to step down.
The former president acquired more than 280 private and commercial properties, islands, forest parks, wetland and wildlife reserves during his time in power, according to a commission of inquiry cited by Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou.
Tambadou described it as an "unconscionable land grab".
The commission was established by President Adama Barrow and has been probing assets accumulated by Jammeh, his family and associates during his rule, which ended after a military intervention by other West African states.
"The damage former president Jammeh has caused to government institutions, public resources and state owned enterprises is of such serious nature," that charges should be brought, said Tambadou, who is also Attorney General.
The announcement came after the commission of inquiry submitted its report in March.
"The commission also found that disproportionate amounts of resources were wasted, misappropriated and diverted by former president Jammeh amounting to at least $304,718," Tambadou added.
Jammeh came to power in a bloodless coup in July 1994 and was repeatedly re-elected in disputed circumstances until defeated in December 2016 by the relatively unknown Barrow.
After the other West African states intervened, Jammeh bolted from his country and found refuge in Equatorial Guinea.
Human rights activists accuse his regime of torturing opponents, executions without trial, forced disappearances and rape.
A Truth Commission has been hearing evidence of the mayhem, including testimony from hitmen who said they carried out dozens of murders for Jammeh.