Wellingara Turu Yeruwandy Kaffo of Fulladu Brikamaba, in the Central River Region (CRR) are currently grinding it all out with Guaranty Trust Bank (Gtbank) over a missing one hundred and sixty-six thousand dalasi (D166, 000.00) allegedly stolen by one Momodou Baldeh, a former employee of Gtbank Basse Branch.
The wrangling has been ongoing since December 2021. A Series of communications and correspondences between the Seed Growers and officials of the Guaranty Trust Bank was said did happen.
However, the association has now taken a tougher stance and demanding that the Guaranty Trust Bank refund the D166, 000 into its accounts for dismissing Momodou Baldeh without prosecution and its failure to inform the association about the outcome of their engagement with the accused before he absconded out of the jurisdiction of the Gambia.
Musa Trawally, Secretary-General of Wellingara Turu Yeruwandy Kaffo revealed to this medium that sometime in December 2021, his Kaffo proposed to buy one million dalasi (D1million) Treasury Bills from the Central Bank of the Gambia through the Guaranty Trust Bank where they operate an account.
He added that at moment the association has eight hundred and forty thousand dalasi (D840, 000) in its account with the bank that was less than the one million (D1million) treasury bills deposit the association needed, noting that this situation compelled the association to withdraw an extra one hundred and sixty-six thousand dalasi (D160, 000) from their Reliance Bank account.
According to him, this D166, 000 was handed over to Momodou Baldeh, the Guaranty Trust Bank manager at Basse to be deposited into the Kaffo’s account in a bid to raise the one million treasury bills deposit the association wanted to buy through Guaranty Trust Bank.
Continuing the narration, the Secretary-General of the association disclosed that the D166, 000 was handed over to Momodou Baldeh at the presence of three of the association members, namely Musa Trawally, Secretary-General; Abdou Fanneh, Treasury; and Mama Fatty, President, adding that they were informed by Momodou Baldeh that the money will be duly deposited into their account to meet the threshold of the treasury bills.
“When we requested for our receipt Momodou Baldeh told us that it was the Central Bank that will issue the receipt and asked us to collect the receipt in one week. Upon our return to collect our receipt we realized that the money was not deposited into our account and also find out that D300, 000 was also withdrawn from our account without our knowledge,” Musa Trawally told the TAT.
He added: “This is not the first time we reported withdrawal from our account without our knowledge. First, it was D32, 000 that was withdrawn, and when we raised the alarm the bank refunded it.”
Trawally continued to disclose that both the issues of the D300, 000 and the D166, 000 was put to the knowledge of the bank officials for redress, adding that Malang Camara, the Regional Supervisor of GT Bank, and Christopher Falana, a senior official of the bank promised to settle the matter and take disciplinary actions against the accused.
He further disclosed to this medium that Wellingara Turu Yeruwandy Kaffo runs into ‘bad luck when Guaranty Trust Bank recently informed them that the bank will refund the D300, 000 into their account and also instructed us to follow Momodou Baldeh to pay the D166, 000.00.
“The Bank told us that they will refund the D300, 000 but bears no responsibility for the D166, 000 given to Momodou Baldeh. We cannot understand this position of the bank because we reported the matter to them and it was them who told us to go, they will solve the matter, ” Abdou Fanneh, Treasurer of the association interjected.
He added: “If they (Guaranty Trust Bank) knew that they are not going to prosecute Momodou Baldeh, they could have informed us so that we can hand over the matter to the police. But how can we know that he has been dismissed by the bank and reportedly absconded the country, how can we bring actions against him, he rhetorically asked?”
The Treasurer of the Wellingara Seed Growers observed that the position of the bank on the matter has not been satisfactory to members of the poor farmers, arguing that the Bank wouldn’t dismiss Momodou Baldeh if the association did not report the fraudulent activities of Momodou Baldeh.
He argued that Guaranty Trust Bank should have handed over their thief (Momodou Baldeh) to them if they have no interest in prosecuting him, noting that if the bank didn’t give them the assurances that they will be addressed the matter they would have reported the matter to the police to take the necessary actions.
“Now that we are getting reports that Momodou Baldeh has absconded, we are demanding the Guaranty Trust Bank to refund all our D166, 000 back to our account or produced Momodou Baldeh for us to take action against him,” Fanneh demanded on behalf of his association members.
According to him, the disappearance of the D166, 000 in front of the watchful eyes of the Bank has raised suspicion among members of the association, noting that since December, executive members have been going up and down from Brikamaba to Basse to no avail.
He called on the Gambia Government to intervene in addressing this situation that the Guaranty Trust Bank is failing to address, stating that the money belongs to more than 200 poor farmers who depend on only farming for survival.
This medium contacted officials of the Guaranty Trust Bank who confirmed the story, disclosing that the said D166, 000 was physically handed over to Momodou Baldeh, adding that after a thorough search the bank has not seen any traces of this money being deposited.
The Bank also stated in a letter sent to the association seen by this medium, stating that ‘it cannot take responsibility for any money that has not been either deposited or withdrawn from the said account while advising the society to grind it out with Momodou Baldeh.
However, two executive members of Wellingara Turu Yeruwandy Kaffo dismissed the claim emanating from the Bank, affirming that the said D166, 000 was handed over to Momodou Baldeh at the Bank.