The Central Bank Reported Bribery Scandal is the latest headline from TAT. Does the matter fit what you call a scandal?
Well, according to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary definition, a scandal (noun) is “an action or event that causes a public feeling of shock and strong moral disapproval; reports about actions or events that cause shock and disapproval.”
So there you have it! For example, in terms of usage: one could talk of “a financial scandal”.
Definitely, from the recent reports about happenings at the Central Bank, we see the possibility of the country’s apex bank being used for money laundering purposes and similar criminal operations.
Indeed, the reported events point to the danger of this happening if there are no safeguards in place robust enough to detect and prevent nefarious activities there.
Of course, we know that the Bank has a special unit with a responsibility to combat money laundering through the banking system.
And you want to ask if it has sprung into action to investigate possible money laundering and the possibility of fake (counterfeit?) currency being put into general circulation through the Bank.
Granted, the Bank and police “moved swiftly” to investigate the Bank affair, within 24 and 48 hours respectively, after the TAT story came out.
However, as TAT has reported, the contents of the public statements they released raised more questions than answers.
And, the question most observers are asking is: How deep and far/extensive are their investigations?
Especially, having read the contents of the Solie Law Chambers letter, the press release from the Central Bank, and the press release from the police, we see how exposed the Bank is, as well as the vulnerabilities of the country’s financial system and institutions.
Moreover, now that the police report highlighted how the official registration of charities could be subject to abuse; and, how this could be a gateway for “an organized criminal group”, “fraudsters” and “scammers” as asserted by the police, will there be any official action?
Will the Ministry of Justice, the registering authority of organizations, associations, and foundations passing as charities, look into its files and receive police help to probe the activities of registered charities?
There is also the issue of “fake” currency being in circulation in the country, and now reports and the likelihood that the criminals involved are possibly penetrating and depositing their earnings to launder such counterfeit monies through the Central Bank.
We believe these are questions and fears requiring urgent answers, in the form of strong governmental action, to reassure Gambians and all stakeholders that it is in control and alive to their concerns.