Former Gambian ambassador to France charged with graft

31st August 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Gambian court on Tuesday charged a former ambassador to France with corruption and theft relating to abuse of power while he was in office.

William John Joof, who is currently the permanent secretary at the foreign ministry, denied all the charges. He was refused bail and remanded into state custody.

Joof, ambassador to France from 2002 to 2007, is facing nine charges including obtaining goods by false pretences, conspiracy to commit a felony, and abuse of office.

According to the charge sheet, Joof conspired with certain individuals to import goods into Banjul in his name to evade payment of custom duties.

Joof also allegedly received 15,000 euro (19,000 dollars) from a French national in return for a job in the Gambian consular services.

Corruption is rife in the small west African nation, a problem that has prompted President Yahya Jammeh to declare "an all-out war on drugs and corruption".

During the July anniversary of the 1994 bloodless coup in which he seized power, Jammeh denounced the "evil practice" of graft and said there was no place for nepotism, cronyism and tribalism in his government.

© 2010 AFP

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