Friday, March 7, 2014

Taiwan uncomfortable about the corruption accusation

Some officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Taiwan appear to be "very uncomfortable with the corruption allegation" leveled against them by Yaya Jammeh who threatened to reveal high level corruption within the Taiwan government.

This was revealed to by a Danish journalist based in Beijing who visited Taipei in January to report on Taiwan's foreign aid policy and program.

The reporter used the occasion to question the Taipei authorities on specific issues covered by this blog during and immediately following the acrimonious break-up of diplomatic relations between Gambia and Taipei last November.   Prior to his mission to Taipei, he posed several questions to us to which we responded to comprehensively and to the best of our knowledge.  In return, the reporter promised to share his findings with us.

You will recall that after revelations were made by unidentified sources within MOFA that the abrupt severance of diplomatic relations by the idiosyncratic dictator was, perhaps, in reaction to their refusal of his demand for money.  Although Taiwan authorities refused to specify the actual amount the Gambian dictator demanded when responding to the journalist's questions, the reporter did say that based on responses to his inquiries, it was apparent that "the president of Gambia has asked for a big amount of money in the beginning of last year."  The "big amount" of money varies from $ 10 million to $ 20 million from different sources within MOFA.

Although we still cannot receive confirmation on the amount that Jammeh demanded in January of 2013, the Taiwanese did reveal that Jammeh's letter cited "strategic national interests" of The Gambia for the money he demanded in January of last year.  Curiously, it is the same reason he advanced in severing ties with Taipei.

According to officials in Taipei, they were not the only ones caught unawares by Jammeh's decision to part ways, diplomatically, with his friends of almost twenty years.  Apparently, Beijing was also caught by surprise.

On the question of the projects they financed in their long association with Yaya Jammeh, the reporter said "[A]cording to MOFA, 90% of their aids project in Gambia are implimented which they said was a high number."  An interesting revelation by authorities at MOFA was that their projects were "monitored and supervised" by international organizations.  Since our reporter who collaborated with us on this project did not have time to look into this claim, we will pursue this angle of our inquiries as we try to shed light into the Taiwan's foreign aid package to The Gambia.

The Danish journalist's Gambia-specific portion of his inquiries was summed up this way "[U]nfortunately, due to the corruption accusations, they didn't want to say much more."  The reluctance on the part of the Taiwanese, while understandable, will only encourage more speculations that will continue to cast shadow over its development assistance program with its diplomatic partners in Africa and Latin America.  It may also lend credence to Jammeh's threat to reveal "shocking" information in his possession should Taiwan continue to reveal embarrassing details about his incessant demands for money in the name of the Gambian people.

We will continue to pursue this topic as long as there remains unanswered questions, the responses to which both Taiwan and the dictatorial regime in Banjul owe the Gambian people.