Principal Banking Officer of The Central Bank, Karamo Jawara has said that the Office of the former President Yahya Jammeh has opened twenty-two 22 bank accounts at the Central Bank of The Gambia.
“There are 22 bank accounts under the Office of the former President,” Karamo Jawara disclosed.
Jawara added that some of the accounts were dormant while mentioning the International Gateway Account, Special Project Fund Vision 2016 Account, National Youth Development Account, Green Industries Account, Fish Landing Account, Office of the First Lady Dollar and Dalasi Accounts, MOP Petroleum Account, SABC Engagement Account and Special Security Account among the list of active accounts.
He started with the International Gateway Account mentioning the names of Mr. Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General and Nuha Touray, former Secretary to Cabinet as signatories to the account saying the account was a directive from the Office of the President. He added that signatories to the accounts were later changed to Abdoulie Sallah, Lamin Nyabally, Dr. Kalilu Bayo and Isatou Auber.
Jawara revealed the sum of US$ 610,000 US Dollars as the first transactions in 2013.
The change of signatories and the letter of opening the International Gateway Account were admitted and marked as exhibits.
The Central Bank’s Principal Banking Officer further disclosed that the total amount deposited into the accounts was $5, 421, 732.98 Million US Dollars while a total of $5, 421, 440.61 Million US Dollars was withdrawn leaving a balance of $292.00 Hundred US Dollars.
The US Dollar Bank Statement of the International Gateway was admitted and marked as exhibit.
Most of the withdrawals were authorized by Momodou Sabally and Nuha Touray. Sana Jarju, former Chief of Protocol and Buba I Demba were among the recipients of several thousand of dollars on behalf of Sabally and Touray from the Central Bank.
It was reported to the commission that the former Governor of Central Bank has approved the payment of D10 Million Dalasi to Sana Jarju, former Chief of Protocol on behalf of Momodou Sabally through a telephone conversation, saying altogether a total of D36 Million was paid without any formal documentation.
“Anyone who calls you by telephone to lend money without formal documentation is not institutional but it is name lending,” Commissioner Bai Mass Saine interjected.
Commissioner Saine stressed that the former Secretary General, Momodou Sabally who was one time director of budget knows about banking process but was deliberately bypassing the rules which the central bank official admitted.
“What is the procedure to lend money to the government,” he asked.
Principal Banking Officer of the Central Bank said the Ministry of Finance is the right procedure.
When asked whether the payments without formal documentation went to government coffers: “I won’t be able to tell whether it went to the government.”
The sum of $132, 669. 24 US Dollars was authorised by Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General and Nuha Touray, former Secretary to Cabinet for the New Africa Magazine’s feature on The Gambia in July 2014. The payment was made to the Barclays Bank. They further authorized the payment of $220, 000 US Dollars to purchased VIP carpets for the Office of the President in Rabat, Morocco.
Meanwhile, the former President Yahya Jammeh was the sole signatory to Special Project Fund Vision 2016. It was opened in 2014. The total deposits were $45,194,083.05 US Dollars while a total of $45,171, 420.05 US Dollars was withdrawn between the period 2013–2014.
“There were 123 withdrawals authorized by the former president,” Karamo Jawara asserted. Jawara explained that the Director of National Treasury was the one who wrote a request to open the account.
Meanwhile, the former president has authorized the withdrawal of so many millions of dollars that were received by Alagie Ousman Ceesay and Sana Jarju both were Chief of Protocol Officers at the Office of the former President.