Buah Saidy, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, has said that their internal investigations show the claim of a D11.1 million bribery to Bank staff was made by scammers.
Mr. Saidy made this revelation at a press conference during the quarterly Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the Bank on Tuesday 31st May 2022.
He said the whole matter was a scam orchestrated by scammers who are currently in police custody.
A special committee instituted by the bank has completed its investigations into the complaint of money laundering and bribery which came to light in February 2022, when The Alkamba Times (TAT) first broke the news.
It was alleged, according to the TAT report, that D155 million in mutilated banknotes were deposited at the Central Bank of The Gambia, and that D11.1 million in bribe money was paid to named Central Bank staff to facilitate changing the mutilated banknotes to good banknotes.
These allegations were reportedly carried in a letter from the Solie Law Chambers sent on behalf of a client to the management of the CBG.
However, the CBG Governor said their investigations have exonerated Abdou Ceesay, a Bank staff, and the prime accused person in the letter and at the center of the bribery allegation.
Mr. Ceesay was interdicted pending the completion of the internal investigations at the Bank but has resumed work after he was cleared of any wrong. The decision for him to return to work was approved by the board of the Central Bank.
Mr. Saidy rubbished the allegation, arguing that both preliminary investigations by the fraud investigation unit of the police, as well as a special committee headed by a CBG board member, concluded that it was the work of scammers intent on damaging the good name of his staff.
Governor Saidy denied that any money entered the Bank in the circumstances alleged in the letter and that the security staff and CCTV cameras installed at the Bank would have noticed any movement of such an amount of cash within the Bank.
He added that as for the vault at the Central Bank, any money that goes in there is recorded, and there was not even a single butut that was added to the stock of money.
Mr. Saidy also recalled that the police did release a preliminary report in which they said that it was a scam, which position the police still maintain.
The police may bring the persons accused of being scammers to court, and since that is the case he will no longer make any comments on the matter, Mr. Saidy declared.
However, TAT is now being told that close allies of the CBG Governor constituted the Bank’s internal investigation committee, which has since blamed the two deputies of the governor leading to their sudden departure recently.
Also, a former director at the Central Bank has said the CBG cannot investigate itself when faced with such a serious allegation and argued that the investigation should either be conducted by the police or the National Assembly.
“Why is the CBG doing the investigation by themselves and not leaving the matter to relevant authorities to do the investigation.”
This person also asked why the Bank was not taking legal action against Solie Law Chambers and their client, Ansumana Bah, as they now appear to have put the name of the CBG into disrepute.
It is the view of this former CBG official that the high volume of soil and mutilated banknotes in circulation in the market is a clear indication that all is not well, and the government must step in and launch a thorough investigation.