Ex-Gambian president’s wife swindling £20,000 British benefits

man and woman

Altruism or negligence, why was Lady Njaimeh on U.K benefit? Shouldn’t Jawara have catered for all his family’s expenses? What is your take? Sir Dawda Jawara the poorest former African President living today. Kairo News want readers to discuss the subject with decorum and respect as usual.

The DK Jawara brand came under serious attack in the last few days in both left wing and right wing British press. The current right wing government of Prime Minister David Cameroon have put in place stiff restrictions and stringent control on social security benefit claims. The pet project of ultra right wing social security Minister, Ian Duncan Smith is pushing many benefit claimants to either work or forfeit state help.

Lady Njaimeh Jawara, the second wife of Jawara suffered the humiliation of being exposed has a benefit cheat, tarnishing the ‘brand Jawara’ which has been gaining some friendly media coverage in recent months. Will this saga dent Jawara’s legacy since a wife is a husband’s lifelong partner?

Below is Daily Express coverage:

THE former Gambian president’s wife has been fitted with an electronic tag after admitting she swindled British taxpayers of £20,000 in benefits.

Lady Njaimeh Jawara was accused of claiming council tax reduction, housing benefit and pension credit she was not entitled to – because she was actually in Gambia on five occasions between 2008 and 2013, for more than 13 weeks each time.

The 65-year-old, of East Grinstead, West Sussex, has been married for 35 years to Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, the president of Gambia between 1970 and 1994.

The 91-year-old, who trained as a veterinary surgeon in Glasgow and Liverpool, has at least two other wives, as polygamy is widely practised in the west African country which is 90 per cent Muslim.

Sir Dawda helped gain full independence from British colonial rule in the year he became Gambian leader, but was ousted from power in a coup in 1994.

Worthing Magistrates’ Court heard how his wife, who lives in a new-build housing association flat worth about £200,000, was overpaid £9,255 in pension credits, £8,848 in housing benefit, £1,192 in council tax and £484 in council tax support – totalling £19,779.

Magistrates heard how she did not notify either Mid-Sussex District Council or the Department for Work and Pensions about her “prolonged absences” from Britain.

They told her she should have informed authorities she was abroad for the “prolonged breaks” as they would have stopped her benefits until she was back in the UK.

While illegally claiming benefits the keen golfer flew to Gambia in May 2010, where she attended the Gambia Golf Association’s AGM – of which she is an honorary member.

She donated 10,000 Gambia Dalasi (£160) to the association.

Lady Jawara commended the promotion of golf in Gambia, calling it a “noble” game in which she wanted youngsters to “pursue a career”.

However, instead of jetting off for another 18 holes in Africa she will now have to wear an electronic tag for 20 weeks and is the subject to a curfew, which bans her from leaving her home between 7pm and 7am.

After admitting to seven counts of failing to inform authorities about her changes in circumstances she was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60, pay the council’s investigation and prosecution costs of £4,286 and repay the full amount of benefits she falsely pocketed.

Jonathan Ash-Edwards, the deputy leader of Mid Sussex District Council, said: “The council works with the Department for Work and Pensions on matters like this and takes firm action against the small minority of claimants who seek to cheat and be a drain on the wallets and purses of the law abiding residents of Mid Sussex.

“You can help us catch these cheats by reporting any suspected fraud anonymously on our website.”

Source: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/600850/Ex-Gambian-president-wife-Njaimeh-Jawara-electronic-tag-20000-British-benefits


  1. Jawara was constantly attacked by Sedia Jatta and Halifa Sallah, however, it seems Jawara is more altruistic than both Sedia and Halifa since Jawara had access to state funds and did not use for personal gains. Whilst halifa secretly enjoy nice foods and treats from fine supermarkets in Serrekunda. Some need to apologise to Jawara for being too harsh on him.

  2. We are not a monarchy so that we accord credit only for individual achievements and not confer prestige on a whole family. The individual family members like everyone else must earn their own acclaim.
    Hence Lady Njaimeh must be judged based on her own deeds. Sadly she has brought reputational damage to the country but most importantly exposes our cultural weakness with regards to self-aggrandisement founded on false premise – basically showing off to neighbours at the expense of others.
    Her family, more than many Gambians, are privileged enough to have foresight to anticipate such enduring damage to reputation. We can’t expect outpouring of sympathy from Gambians for such miscalculations.

  3. First of all , I think it sad and embarrassing to see the former First Lady acted in this manner and finally convicted . She should have been a role model to so many young Gambian girls by doing examplery work in the form of engaging on specific issue that would help to promote girls or women agenda or any issue that would help to promote gambia .This is what former or current First Ladies of civilized and democratic countries do but not to fly home to play golf while living on at the expense of others. Former first lady focus also should have been on legacy Of her husband which should be legacy of altruism , honesty , respect for human rights, and fair treatment of everyone ,instead she was involved in dishonest and corrupt act . This tell a lot about the mindset of some leaders in The Gambia and this includes political leaders and their families .When are we going to think about our legacy and country which everyone claim to love? This is not just bad for her but it portray a bad image for the country. Cheating is simply dishonesty and I understand that a lot Gambians are involved in cheating the system in UK , and other countries .
    Looking at this story aside from dishonesty and corruption of former First Lady , one can also see that former president is without a doubt poor man. Jawara was humble , tolerance , selflessness , respect others and not greedy unlike the current idiot who is greedy , selfish , arrogant , evil , no respect for anyone , and consider Gambia and Gambians his personal property .
    The lesson here is that our political leaders and their families should always think of their legacies by setting better examples for wider population . Today as we speak , we have rarely see the families of first republic political leaders defending the Legacies of their parents . Some of them are here in diaspora , sitting quietly and observing . They failed to help fight current military dictatorship which resulted from their parents lack of vision for our country . While others happily joined Jammeh to oppress Gambians and this includes the sons of former president . Honesty , integrity and Fair play should always be part of our national psyche.

  4. Very bad publicity for.The Gambia and very damaging to the “Jawara” brand name…It is a stigma that they will forever live with…

    The details of the story are so scanty that caution need to be.exercised…It may have been an honest mistake, rather than a calculated scheme to defraud the system.

    Sometimes, in.our eagerness to access state support (which is an entitlement if you are qualified and nothing to be ashamed of) we don’t pay much attention to the “small print”, which can have serious consequences…

    Yes, ignorance of the law is no excuse, but she may not have been aware that she needed to notify the authorities when she travelled abroad for a certain length of time.

    The fact that she was neither sent to prison, nor ordered to do community service does suggest that the judge was lenient with her and probably concluded that she was not your scheming type of benefit cheat…

    It is a lesson for all to learn from…Never take state support for granted…Always read and understand the “small print”..

  5. What are you talking about Hassan Sallah ? What has Hon. Jatta and Sallah got to.do with the predicament of the Jawara family ? How did they attack Jawara ? Would you care to explain that ?

    What, you don’t want Halifa to enjoy nice foods from the supermarket ? And why is that so.? I’m curious to know…

    • I 100% agree with Bax’s first and second posts.

      Sometimes court process is a conveyor belt at the end of which one gets a label sticker – a conviction – which doesn’t remotely represent justice or morality. I wonder if she had been properly and effectively represented before the court!

      Lady Njemeh Mboge might have made a genuine mistake in failing to notify UK authorities about her change of circumstances. This doesn’t mean she’s not entitled to what was paid to her. In any event, those paying her the handout should have noticed this sooner.

      Anyone who knows about the UK benefit, Tax and Working Tax Credits payment systems will tell you how chaotic and confusing they are. A fact acknowledged time and again in the Parliament. We know that several MPs have had runnings with the media/law about their expenses claims.

      Without proper legal representation many of them would have gone to prison. We have also seen many celebrities avoid (esp.motoring) convictions because they can afford to pay for finest legal minds in town.

      Having said all that, Lady Njemeh’s apparent cordial relationship with Professor Jammeh is a cause for concern about her judgment.

      Sedia and Halifa should never have been mentioned in connection with Lady Njemeh’s story . Their criticism of Jawara (justified or not)was and remains legitimate public interest.

  6. Bax, the detail of this story is well established and its been reported by several news media . I won’t called this a honest mistake. Former First Lady has been going back and forth between Gambia and UK from 2008 to 2013. She must have been aware of this because in almost all cases for those getting state benefits , they were initially informed to notify the state when traveling out of the country. I also don’t think it is eagerness or right to have that one should go for such benefits if you qualify and have other means of living because it is meant for low income and poor people or retirees. I will consider such people as greedy who abuse the system at the detriment of others . Though social security benefits is based on qualification. The judge Was lenient because it could have been of her age or first time offender . She was ordered to pay back full benefits. I think this Former First Lady is not good role model because this is not her first time she had brushed with the law . In The Gambia, she had land issue with someone and end in court case. President Jammeh also gave 40,000 dollars to golf club and which became a problem between her family and other members . So she has history already . In USA , sometime I like republican strictness in ensuring that people don’t abuse benefits and I think David Cameroon government is doing the right thing so that those who really deserve the benefits will get it but not someone flying to gambia to play golf with her buddies . Bax how many times did you have chance to play golf if you ever play one in your life ?

  7. In as much as Lady Njemeh flop, current Lady Zeinab is doing a billion times worst.
    Lady Zeinab will be pursued, prosecuted and imprison and have all the stolen state wealth back to where it belong.
    I have always said that whoever pacts with Jammeh might live to regret it. Jammeh is curse for the human race.

  8. Kemo Ba said ” I wonder if she had been properly and effectively represented before the court” .
    Mr Ba , it is the responsibility of former First Lady to find her own lawyer who would represent her case in the court , if she fail to secure one then the state ( government) will provide her with the public defender ( lawyer ) who would represent her case .

    Kemo Ba said ” in any event , those paying her the handout should have noticed this sooner”
    In the above statement, are you trying to shift the blame to those who paid her ? How can they know if she failed to notify them that she was out of the country ? Remember, it was former First Lady responsibility to notify them whenever she is leaving for any country . In fact mrs jawara was former First Lady and she should have known better. Beneficiaries are given instructions about the rules and policy of such benefits. Her actions wasn’t any mistake in my view but a deliberate act to cheat and abuse the system. I think the judge made a right decision on behalf of taxpayers.

  9. Luntango Suun Gann Gi

    Bax/Kemo Ba,

    Please respect due process and the rule of law.

    The FACTS are as established by the court of law.

    The court has been lenient – possibly because she agreed to pay back all she owes and because she can do so.

    The real punishment for her would be if her Housing Association decides to pursue repossession on the strength of the court’s ruling. The HAs normally do in this cases.