A spokesperson for new Gambian president Adama Barrow has denied allegations the previous head of state had stolen state funds before going into exile. On 23 January, Barrow's top adviser Mai Ahmad Fatty confirmed to IBTimes UK that Yahya Jammeh "withdrew about $10m, which amounts to about 500m of Gambian Dalasi in the last two weeks". He also said the state coffers were "virtually empty".

However, spokesperson Halifa Sallah is now denying the claims. He told the BBC during a conference in The Gambia's capital Banjul that "not only the Central Bank is normal and functioning normally, but that all the banks in the country are functioning normally."

He also called on people who have any allegations to contact the country's inspector general of police for investigation.

"Allegation of theft etc cannot just be made by any member of an executive. It is not the domain of the executive," he said

"Allegation of anything that is a crime must be passed on to the inspector general of police and they are the competent authority that should conduct investigation of anything reported to them and eventually prefer charges against the accused who also must be presumed to be innocent until a trial takes place before we actually find them guilty of a crime."

Fatty told IBTimes UK it was not not clear what Jammeh – who went into exile after 22 years of power – was doing with the alleged stolen assets and further investigations were required.

"It is is a matter we will look into. When the government is in place, we will be in a better position to investigate," he said. "The government public funds cannot be misappropriated."

The allegations surfaced as Barrow, currently in Senegal's capital Dakar, is preparing to head home.

It is not clear when the leader will leave. Current thinking suggests he may depart as early as tomorrow (24 January) or Wednesday (25 January).

Fatty, told IBTimes UK: "His excellency wants to go back home as soon possible."

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