High-Level Graft, Misleading Narratives, and Informed Denials: “Someone Deserves an Apology”

Sainey MK Marenah
Sainey MK Marenah

Its increasingly becoming clear that officials have lost the argument in the mutilated banknotes scandal at the CBG where TAT unveiled high-level graft amid staunch denial by the government, which would rather abrade the press than face the realities of an ever-deepening web of official corruption, making a buffet of public funds and offices for quick riches.

Past months put The Alkamba Times at the center of intense bashing by government officials as the medium uncovered corrupt practices implicating top executives at the country’s Premier Bank.

Both the Gambia government spokesperson Ebrima G. Sankareh and former Information Minister Ebrima Sillah went through several hours of airtime to severely criticize TAT for “setting off” a false storm when it reported the jaw-dropping ‘corrupt practices” among senior officials of the country’s apex bank.

In February, TAT reported that D155m of mutilated banknotes was allegedly given to a senior central bank staff Abdou Ceesay to swap into new notes with a bribe of D11m to some named bank staff.

The platform reported allegations of collusion among some bank staff in executing the transaction but police reacted swiftly by issuing a lengthy statement to ‘assure’ the bewildered population that the case was organized crime. It then suggested unprofessionalism and rash reporting on the part of TAT.

The police used the tail of the release to urge journalists to triangulate their stories before publication. But the most intense assault on TAT came from Ebrima Sillah and Sankareh. Since the publication of TAT’s report, the duo never missed an opportunity to haul the medium into the coal. “The most unfortunate thing about the whole issue is that the editor (TAT) knew what he published was false but he’s still insisting on the accuracy of the story,” Ebrima Sillah told Peter Gomez of West Coast Radio days after the story was published.

And this line of assault was extended to other media. And the attacks, aimed at humiliating TAT and casting aspersions on its editor-in-chief, were stepped up by the government spokesperson Ebrima G. Sankareh.

Sankareh used every platform at his disposal in an attempt to rubbish the report as a mere storm in a teacup. “I would suggest that (CBG scandal) was a storm in a teacup; exaggerated stuff that was actually or… what the Americans say a tempest in a kettle,” he told reporters as late as a fortnight ago. Now that two senior CBG staff have been sent home ‘for not swiftly acting’ on reports of official corruption at the Central Bank, it seems someone deserves an apology.

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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.


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